Whether you realize it or not, you have a "secret weapon" that you may or may not be using. It is called an "infectious" smile. If you are using it, then you already know, but if you are not, then you are missing out on some wonderful benefits and blessings that are out of all proportion to the effort it takes to create one.

To be sure, the person who has an "infectious" smile is the type of person I like to be around, because life is too short to spend it with people who are negative, mad at the world and everyone in it, and seldom have anything positive to say about anything. If you will think about it, an infectious smile may be the best bargain in the world, because it does not cost a penny and quite often pays a higher dividend than any bank or saving institution in the world.

It should be noted here that there is a vast difference between a "silly" grin or a fake smile and one that is warm, sincere and genuine. When you are around this type of person, you just get the feeling that he or she truly values you as a human being, cares about you, and has your best interests at heart. The English Poet Joseph Addison (1672-1719) once said, "What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. They are but trifles, to be sure, but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable."

Now, if an "infectious" smile has this much value, you would logically think that more people would spend time developing their own. It has been said that a smile is a curve that straightens out a lot of things. One thing I have found is that it is pretty hard to be mad or unhappy with someone when you are smiling or laughing. This is certainly not to say that there aren’t times when we need to be serious and even stern. A happy smile does not create that mood, but more often than not when we take ourselves or what we are doing too seriously, the outcome or result will not be positive.

By and large we are creatures of habit, and I hope you will give some thought to what I am saying. If a wide, natural smile is not on your face, at least some of the time, begin to practice on family members, co-workers and those you encounter each day. You will find that good things will begin to happen in your life.

Along these lines, a while back my wife Janis told me an interesting story. When she was a young child, a new female student enrolled in their school and she found herself sitting in the desk next to the new student. She said that first day she gave her a big smile, introduced herself and welcomed her to her new school. That small act of kindness began a friendship that has lasted more than 65 years. She reminded Janis for the first time only a few months ago of how much, at the time, this meant to her.

This brings me to another important topic: the unnecessary "bullying" that is taking place in schools all across our nation each and every day. Many people and organizations are working to stop this, but we must all do our part. For instance, students in school can simply give a big smile and a kind, friendly word to new people who are trying to adjust and fit in. It can make a big difference.

You can believe what I am saying is true. Life is so much better for all concerned when we wear a big "infectious" smile, as often as we can, and it will become a habit. Even on those gloomy rainy days, do not let your mood diminish the sunshine that is in your heart.

(Editor’s Note: Bookcase for Every Child – Changing Lives & Futures – ONE AT A TIME. Please visit our website: www.bookcaseforeverychild.com)