What’s he thinking? Will he major in Engineering or Business? (He will DEFINITELY go to Auburn.) Did his parents make him wear that bow tie or did he dress himself that day?
I’m guessing my dad is about 6 in this photo, which would date it around 1955. Where did families go for portraits in Birmingham in those days? Now we snap them anywhere – photos, video; with any device – phones, cameras, our desktop computers; and post them all over the place. We can even stream them in real time if we want.
What hasn’t changed: You shouldn’t just smile (curl your lip, arch an eyebrow) for the camera. You should smile for all the times you think no one notices.
The political editor at the paper (who sometimes wears bow ties and is almost as sweet as my 6-year-old dad): “Wow, you’re smiley today!”
The guy we hired to help manage our page design: “You’re smiling and it’s only 9 o’clock. That’s promising!”
My neighbor’s 6-month-old: Happy gurgling and a mirror of my expression.
All three made a point of stopping me, stopping in, or snuggling up.
People also notice when you don’t smile.
The bow-tied political editor: “Knight, you’re not smiling today!”
A soccer mom at the airport, apologizing unnecessarily for her gaggle of happy college girls: “I’m sorry they are so loud!”
My daughter: “Are you still mad at me about getting a cell phone and not telling you first?”
I didn’t realize I appeared displeased.
People make positive assumptions (about themselves, about you) when you’re smiling, and negative ones (about themselves, about you) when you aren’t. As long as they’re making assumptions, I’d rather they start with a foundation of hope and trust instead of one of fear and cynicism. Whether you’re a 30-something with flirty eyes or a 6-year-old with a toothy grin, a smile is a nice beginning.