I was so excited today to hear from TWO people about a past blog post in which I talked about people’s lack of connecting with each other. I talked about walking down the street and smiling at a few different people, all of which received fairly negative responses. That was when Project Smile started…
The day after I started project smile I had a few more positive responses but that was followed by more negative ones in the days that followed. I did continue (and still do to be honest). This is what I have discovered…
Old women, they smile at me. They might be remembering days when they themselves were young mothers rushing around with their own children. They might be smiling in pity or it could be pleasure at those memories, I am not sure which. I still get the occasional grumpy old lady, and at one point I stopped and turned to the giver of the grumpy look and smiled again and said ‘I hope you have a good day’. This was met with a stare, and a muttered ‘thankyou’.
I once smiled at an older man, he was coming out of a bar and looked like he might have had a few too many, but I smiled and he looked up at me and beamed (probably from the drink) and said ‘now that’s the first smile I have seen all day’. (How sad is that?). Another time I was passing by homeless gentleman, he was rough looking and sitting on the bench outside of a church. It was night and I was coming home from the gym, I have to admit I was rushing so Project Smile wasn’t on my mind and if I am more honest with you it hadn’t been on my mind for a few days. The boys had been sick, I had been sick, I was tired and over extended with my commitments… anyway, I was walking past this homeless man and he looked up at me and said ‘Oh darling, are you still mad at me?’ and I turned and had to smile. He laughed and told me to have a good night and we had a nice little chat about life for a few minutes. I found it so ironic that the face of someone most would ignore in society was the one to remind me about project smile. This man, down and out as he was managed to connect with me in a way that we in our business don’t often do.
Life lesson: Next time you see a homeless person, smile, wish them well. They too are made by our creator in his own image and loved by God. In the words of a Canadian songwriter Jack Connolly ‘we could use some change’.
So, all in all, Project Smile is an ongoing thing. I am being taught a lot and learning from unexpected places. Now that I know there are people out there who are interested I will write again on the subject but I would also really love to hear from you about your own project smiles… have you tried it? How did it turn out?
3 thoughts on “Project Smile part 2”
Laurie, I first of all want to let you know how your posts here have taught me…both with life subjects you write about and with the english as a language. Your blog has been the place I often call on to practice my english reading and translating, wich has been lost quite much since I came back to Brazil. Well, now about the project smile…this has been one of the posts I most identified with. I have myself been doing this, giving people who walk by me on the street a smile, and depending on each reaction I even say a Good morning or so. I guess here in Brazil reactions are much more positives than in Canada,as brazilians are more \”open\”
but anyways it´s a challenge in big cities to get the smiles back, as people come and go by in a rush, with many things to be thought about and many tasks to be accomplished.However, anytime ONE of those people notice and get the feeling we try to \”transmit\”, they both get surprised and happy because is always good to know we´re known as an individual and remembered despite our defects.I´ll tell you more about the project here in Brazil later…hehehe. But this is a quite old project in my life, as I grew up in a small city where it´s usual to greet people on the street, and as a teenaged I loved to know each homeless and talk to them to know their stories and hel them as I could. Now living in a bigger and crazier place as Rio de Janeiro the approach is not the same!!!Kisses, and of course, a big smile at you, Gabi
Gabi ~ I am not at all surprised to hear that you have had a project smile going on for some time now… you are one of the most loving, sweet and kind people I have met. I wish I could talk to you in person each time you need an english update rather than you just reading from my blog… however, I am so thrilled that you are enjoying reading my thoughts. It has been such a healing experience for me to be able to write out some of these things. Miss you! Kisses and yes… BIG smiles!