“Smiles Only,” New Era, July 2013, 47
“There is one important thing I want you to do,” said my seminary teacher, Brother Matthews, as we walked out the door together. He grabbed a pen and a sticky note and drew a smiley face on it. He then stuck it on the door. “This is to remind you to smile only.” His idea seemed touching and genuine, but I still could force only a half-smile. “I can’t wait to see the day when there will be a happy you,” he said as I left.
As I walked to school, I couldn’t help thinking about the difficulties posed by this little challenge. It seemed like a lot of work for something so simple. Besides, you can’t force yourself to smile and be happy, can you? The days went on and there was still no improvement in my face. I wanted to please my seminary teacher, say that I was happy, and get it over with. I knew, however, deep down, that I wasn’t truly happy. I had to truly commit to this task.
As I set a daily goal of smiling more, I began to notice a gradual change in my life. I began to be more optimistic and upbeat. I found myself becoming better about avoiding gossip and other teenage behaviors that can destroy happiness. Looking back, I am able to see that simply smiling not only changed my attitude but also helped me make more friends. By “smiling only,” I was able to have a more positive attitude, and other people seemed to enjoy being around me more.
Heavenly Father doesn’t want us to be unhappy. He wants us to have joy here on earth. Smiling is a way to see true happiness in yourself and in others. I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father who wants me to be happy. I still keep the motto “smiles only,” and it continues to make my life better.