Imagine you wake up and your smile is missing. That’s what happens to a little boy in a story written by a blogger friend of mine. Now imagine… Imagine your smile would be missing suddenly, nowhere to be found. And you would have no clue why and how it went missing.
‘The Runaway Smile’ is an award winning children’s book written by Nicholas C. Rossi (see link below) and I highly recommend reading it, although I have not yet finished it myself. The idea of a little boys smile gone missing stuck to me the moment I’ve read the intro and then the beginning of the story. The story is kept light while you join the boy on his search for his smile, which he first thinks is somewhere under his bed with heaps of other stuff. For me though, there was something else standing out. The scary ideas of smiles disappearing. Especially the ones of children.
How often do I feel smiles gone missing. You look around and you see all those stern faces. People who used to be happy seem unhappy and if they smile at all it seems fake. They seem to be so focused in their world, in their work that they forget to see the happy side of life. All the sorrows weighing down on them seem to squash the innocent smile that wants to find it’s way on their faces. We might call it burn out or depression when we really hit the ground. And maybe it all starts with not being able to find our smile anymore one morning…
But the children are different. They always seem to see something in this world worth a smile. They giggle and sparkle and it’s contagious. So they might put a smile on an adults face. Just by watching them, by listening to them. The lightness the children still feel in this world seems to touch us again for that split of a second.
When we lose our smile, sadness moves in. It takes over. Sadness and sorrows. When I think of these two words I see the color grey and I feel the cold. The picture I get in my head is the one of a grey, cold and foggy day. And there is no getting out of it.
Now imagine the kids can’t find their smiles anymore…
Imagine the bright and colorful world of a child suddenly gets grey and cold. Imagine the smiles of our children disappear and they get sad. It’s bad enough that we as adults, as parents have to feel an amount of pressure that has the ability to take the fun out of life. Now if our kids get there too, what a sad world will it be? Our children are not immune to depression and to a burn out. The more pressure we put on them, the more their innocent world changes into an adult world. A world we find ourselves in and frankly sometimes hope we could escape and go back to being a child. Right?
I’m sure the boy in the story will find his smile. He has probably misplaced it. But what about the real world? What about all those people who can’t find their smiles anymore. What can we do for them to help them find their smiles again?
Keep those smiles! Cherish them, don’t lose them! We all need them, we all need to smile and to see a smile on someone’s face.
Thank you, Nicholas C. Rossi, for writing such a lovely book and for provoking some thoughts here.