Music and Kind Acts put a Smile in Motion

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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.

This coming Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, we have a reason to smile. Let’s take time to enjoy and celebrate this day. It is World Smile Day The smiley face symbol that we see as a yellow circle with black dots for eyes and a simple curve for a smile is a gentle reminder to smile. Too, even when our mask might hide our mouth’s smile, we can always smile with our eyes, which sends a sparkle to all around for whom we love and care. The origin of the smiley face symbol is attributed to Harvey Ball, a graphic artist and ad man from Worcester, Massachusetts. His work was respected in 1999 when World Smile Day became an official holiday. The theme of Smile Day is simply to smile and do acts of kindness worldwide.

During this time of the Pandemic in our community, people have truly gone out of their way to help each other. This just naturally puts a smile on our faces. Last week I was so encouraged when a young man saw me struggling to put my grocery cart back in the cart lot. I was far from the lot, but the young man came out of his way to put my cart back where it belonged. Being a recipient of this simple, kind, action encouraged me so much with a great big smile of true gratitude. Smiles do not cost a thing, but the benefits a smile pays out for you and others cannot be measured.

During this season of uncertain times we can experience stress. A smile, even from our eyes, can ease stress and help us to be encouraged and give us hope. It takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown. Medical professionals tell us in overall health that smiling does help our immune system to function better by giving it a boost as well as lowering our blood pressure and taking away stress. Smiling can trigger certain neurotransmitters to be released, which helps us to feel good all over. Too, socially and emotionally, a smile from someone else can encourage us. This is a free gift that you can give to someone else.

Music can bring a smile and heartfelt joy. Young children simply delight in music and song. As parents and teachers of young children we see how music can bring smiles, joy and happiness into the family as well as the classroom. Even little babies and infants are very aware and sensitive to the rhythm, intonation and tempo of music. It’s such a joy to hear early childhood teachers rock and sing to the little babies. It’s even more special for mothers to sing to their babies. An infant quickly recognizes his/her mother’s singing voice. Young children love to repeat familiar tunes.

When teaching toddlers, I learned quickly that they are great imitators. Toddlers love to do songs that involve motions with their hands and feet. Preschool children ages two, three, four and even five enjoy music just for music. They are not concerned about pitch or key. This age group loves to clap, dance, skip and do the motions with the songs. They simply love to sing and hum when they are playing and doing their little jobs. Playing music in your home or car is thoroughly enjoyed by young child. There are so many ways for parents to share the gift of music with their children. Singing directions are done in the early childhood classroom as children move through the transitions from subjects, centers, snacks and cleanup. Singing directions with young children to clean their rooms or help with household chores will make the tasks more colorful and fun. Wake up your child with a song on your heart. This will bring a smile for both of you as well as planting a song in your heart as well.

World Smile Day can become each day as we think beyond ourselves in doing something good and kind for someone else. Young children are great imitators of models of kindness. In sharing some acts of kindness with the preschoolers who I am so very blessed to help teach, I have asked their opinions on how to do something kind that brings on a smile. Here are a few suggestions from our “Sit and Chats” that I would like to share from the hearts of young children.

1. Compliment and say something nice to family and friends. As young children would say, “make another person feel happy and smile.” Recently I was reading a story to a class. I was wearing an old faded shirt of fall colors that was just comfortable. Without even prompting or probing, the K4’s spontaneously complimented my old shirt. I had been personally having a hard day and this compliment truly elevated this teacher’s mood and won my heart as I continued to read a book with a big smile.

2. Share with others. I love to see young children share their toys in center time. As children mature, they want to share and give.

3. Give something nature-made to a person. As childhood classes head outside for recess, especially in the Fall, year after year I have seen smiles and eager little eyes preparing things—in this case a gift to the teacher. I just love to see my little guys and gals go run, bend over in the grass and pick me a little wild flower and come running to me to put it in my hand. This always brings a smile and loved feeling to teachers and parents. Too, I have been given other fall items like colored leaves, pine straw, acorns and yes, I have been given a shed cicada shell from the hands of young children to wear proudly as a gift.

4. Holding the door for someone else is a suggestion from my preschoolers. This definitely brings on a smile.

5. Say thank you when someone does something nice for us.

6. Pick up trash, clean up and do classroom and home chores without being asked to do it. This brings a heartfelt smile.

7. Draw pictures and send cards to our elderly friends truly brings a smile to our senior friends. I thank young moms for taking extra time with their children by having them draw happy pictures and mailing them to me, their teacher. Refrigerators become a display of pictures and love art hung by magnets to reflect love and time spent in making a simple gift to bring a smile.

8. Tell someone you are sorry if you have done something wrong. Young children are so free in giving hugs to each other in asking for forgiveness.

9. With preschoolers, I am receiving a lot of hugs around the waist right now during this pandemic, as well as elbow hugs.

10. Last but not least is to tell a person you love them. This truly brings a life-giving smile!

1 Corinthians 13:13-And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Classroom Observer, Beth Pinyerd

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