A life without laughter is no life at all, and World Smile Day is the perfect opportunity for you to turn that frown upside down. Whether you’re trudging along the foggy streets of San Francisco, or jogging through Central Park this morning, today is your chance to put a smile on your face and to begin living the life you want to live.
World Smile Day can trace its origin to the Massachusetts studio of Harvey Ball. He’s the creative genius responsible for creating the ubiquitous smiley face that we have come to know and love. In time, this humble symbol has become one of the most recognizable images in the world. It’s on billboards. It’s on our phones. It’s tucked into the comments of Facebook posts. And, as much as Tom Hanks wants us to believe it all began in a mud puddle, the reality is that Harvey Ball created this friendly symbol in the comforting confines of a studio.
While the symbol has evolved over time, it still retains its youthful vibe. Always friendly and inviting, it’s a global symbol that transcends politics, religion, and all borders. It’s truly a global ambassador that favors all and loves everyone.
It was this realization that led Harvey Ball to initiate the first World Smile Day back in 1999. It was his belief that if the smiley face could be friendly to all throughout the year, then we should be able to do the same for at least one day of the year. Thus, he designated the first Friday in October as World Smile Day.
Since then, the unofficial holiday has spread from the streets of Worchester to cities and towns around the world. And, even if you didn’t know it was on the calendar, it’s not too late for you to celebrate and participate. All you have to do is any of the following and you can become an official sponsor of World Smile Day:
Do an act of kindness.
Yep, it’s that simple.
Open a door for a stranger.
Smile at the neighbor you see frowning as they head out the door.
Give your children a high-five as they head off to school.
Say hi to the widower next door. Better yet, invite them over for dinner.
Pay it forward. Buy the guy behind you in line at Starbucks a cup of coffee.
Drop a book or two off for the kids at the Children’s Hospital. Better yet, volunteer to read them a story.
Clean the leaves off an elderly person’s lawn.
Offer to watch a single mom’s children for a few hours so she can get a break all to herself.
Drop in on a friend having a rough time and take ’em out for a night on the town.
Call your parents and tell them you love them.
Call your children away at college and tell them they can make all their dreams come true.
Send a note to an ex and tell them you forgive them and wish them the best.
Compliment your co-workers on their achievements.
Smile at the policemen, firemen, and public service workers you see on your way through the day.
Give a big tip to the waiter/waitress at lunch.
Donate money, clothes, or food to charity. Better still, donate your time and lend a hand.
Shop at a Mom and Pop. Thank them for making your community’s economy strong and vibrant.
Give someone a hug.
Help a stray dog or cat.
Fix something on a widow’s home. Maybe it’s a window that won’t open, maybe it’s a piece of trim that needs nailed down. Ask what you can do to help out.
Visit a retirement community and just listen as someone tells you their life story.
Call an old friend up and just say hi.
There are so many possibilities that you can spend the entire day bringing smiles to other people’s faces. And, in the process of doing so, you will most certainly bring a smile to your own face. So, get out there. Have some fun. Spread some cheer. This holiday may come but one day a year, but it’s a holiday you can celebrate every day from January to December. So, boil the math down. If you want to see and live in a better world, take a look in the mirror. That’s where a better world starts and today is as good a day as any to start building the tomorrow we all look forward to.