Pocket Full of Smiles

March 1, 2011

When Emma is pouting over a lost toy or Ethan is frustrated because he lost a game on the Wii I often reach into my pocket and say to them, “It looks like you need a smile. Guess what? I happen to have a pocket full of smiles.” And then I slowly take my hand out of my pocket and sprinkle them with the imaginary smiles that I have pulled out to share.  This always seems to bring a REAL smile to their face and it reminds me of my childhood when my parents did the same thing.  My Mom and Dad could always brighten my mood by giving me a pocket full of smiles.

Life can be hard and kids learn early that things don’t always go the way you want them to.  It may seem unfair when your parents won’t let you do the things your friends do or when athletic abilities or academic success come easier to others while you struggle to keep up.  Emma came up to me the other day and asked for the hundredth time if she could get her ears pierced.  I didn’t say no, but I didn’t say yes either.  I gave the vague, “We’ll see” answer that I often use to procrastinate making a decision.  Emma was not satisfied with this answer so she persisted to beg and plead and then said, “Do you know WHY I want to get my ears pierced? It’s because ALL my friends have their pierced.”  I thought this would be a good learning experience so I said, “Emma, if ALL your friends jumped off a bridge would you jump off a bridge too.”   She turned around with a puzzled look on her face and replied, “No, but I don’t see what jumping off a bridge has to do with getting my ears pierced.”   I just shook my head and said, “Oh, Emma … you’ll understand someday.”

I always try to remind my kids that no matter how bad  or unfair things may seem if you try to remain positive and keep your pocket full of smiles you will discover that there are also a lot of good things in life to be thankful for.  When Drew (our 13 year old son) was discouraged after we discovered his Ipod had taken a journey in his jeans pocket through both the washer and the dryer I suggested that maybe he should try counting his blessings and not his problems.  He thought about that for a few minutes and said, “Well maybe now I can get that newer Ipod with the camera in it. That’s kind of a blessing.”  I laughed and said, “Well, I don’t know if I can give you a new Ipod, but I do have something for you.”  I reached into my pocket and said, “How would you like a pocket full of smiles?”  This did bring a smile to his face but it was quickly followed by his answer of, “No, that’s OK … I’d rather have a pocket with a new Ipod.”