Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Parenting by Fortune

Welcome to the first installment of "Parenting by Fortune". The way this is going to work is like this: Every Wednesday I'll draw a fortune my list and apply if on a daily basis for the entire following week, then I'll bliggity about my experience. I encourage you to spread the word and participate on your bliggity, as well. I found it to be quite an interesting experience.

This weeks fortune was "Smile at someone you do not know, it will make you feel better" This was not overly difficult for me because I always try to make eye contact and smile at people as I walk by them, but this week I made sure take note of how they reacted and  how I felt afterwards. I know it doesn't directly apply to parenting, but read on to see what I did with it to make it all tie in.

Having grown up in L.A., making eye contact with people you don't know can prove to be a dangerous thing, after a while to believe that such a thing is personal space. If someone smiles at you while you walk down the street, immediately you start thinking "why is that person smiling at me?" You go through possible scenarios like your hair is messed up, your mascara is smeared, they don't like the shirt you're wearing, or even to the extreme of them wanting to hurt you. Plain and simple, you just don't make eye contact with strangers, trust no one.

When I moved out here I found it totally relieving that people not only make eye contact, but smile and say hello too!! That being said, this past week the County Fair was going on. I posted about it earlier and mentioned that we went two days in a row, which I found to be a great testing ground for this fortune.

I smiled at every single person I made eye contact with and here is what I found: Most smiled back, but the majority of them gave a sort of...confused smile. It wasn't tightened lips like we do when we're really just acknowledging the smile, it was real smile, only with lips closed and eyes wide. Out of all the people who I smiled at, you know how many gave me genuine smiles back?? Three. Three people out of I'd say close to one hundred smiled with teeth showing and eyes squinted.

Even here in the corner of nowhere, where people are far more trusting and open, there was still a wall up, but every time I smiled, I felt so good inside!! Like I was giving them a piece of my happiness. We were at the fair, riding rides, eating cotton candy, having a good time, and I shared that with each person through something as simple as a smile. It was truly fantastic.

here is another observance: When children smile at you, you ALWAYS smile back with a genuine smile, don't you? Why? Is it because we don't feel threatened by children? Is it because we feel that child's happiness and pure joy through their smile and that, in turn, makes us feel a little bit of it too?

As a mom, I know that often times I overlook some of the smiles my kids carry through the day, what if I took more notice of them and let them effect me more? What if I smiled at them more frequently to show them that I am happy? how would our days go if we smiled at each other more??

So far it's worked out pretty well. The last two days have been rough because Vin is growing and he is super cranky, but other than that, I've been making a better effort to smile at the kids more, and I don't know about them, but I can tell you that I feel a whole lot better when I do.

Next weeks fortune is "a soft voice may be awfully persuasive"  Apply this for one week, then tell us what you learned from it, and how it changed your every-day way of thinking. I think this should be a fun one!!

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