November 2002
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It's Contagious…
By Elicia Houle, Grade 10, Delta Secondary School, Delta, BC

I wake up each morning, shower, change, eat and brush my teeth. After checking to see that there are no stray bits of toast or orange juice pulp left in my teeth, I put on my smile. How many people can truthfully say they do that? Many "just don't have time" and this is becoming a serious problem. Adults and teens are under so much stress lately, and in turn the smiles seem to be forgotten. Whether it's projects, homework or jobs, everything seems to have become more important than simply relaxing or even having the time to just sit and enjoy a simple activity. Families, and loving relationships, are breaking up and why?

I feel that it is because happiness in the 2000's has become replaced by depression and repetition. No more are the days where men and women go to work because they love what they are doing. Instead, I find myself living in a world where the only goal in life is to make money. Money rules our lives. Little pieces of paper and small coins, are part of the decision-making progress in our everyday lives. The question is no longer "how can we do it" but, "how can we do it to make more money?"

This is quite unfortunate and, as a result, stress, suicide rates and bullying statistics have gone up. Many people don't even think about the effect smiling may have on someone. Just by a simple wave of the hand, a word of greeting, or smiling you might be saving someone's life. The person that you acknowledged might now think someone cares and will stop thinking about ending their life. Think of how happy their family, friends and even themselves will be when they think about the fact that someone loves and cares about them, and that on that day they made the choice to live and now can look forward to the rest of their life.

Each day, instead of waking up and thinking "ugh, I have to go to school, or work," think, "today is a new day, and right now I have the first day of the rest of my life to make a difference." Then get up, get ready and remember to put on that smile. It takes more muscles to frown that it does to smile so just try it, because no matter what, "smiles are contagious."


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