Friday, January 22, 2010

The World Is A Friendly Place

Today is another gorgeous Hawaiian day. Perfect sunny blue skies, light breeze, about 80 degrees. (Personally I'd prefer 82, but I'll take 80 ;) After breakfast I took Moana to the beach, the really pretty one at Lanikai where the waves are teeny and perfect for toddlers and the only people there during the week are local retired folks and other moms with their little ones. Dogs run around happily off leash and people are generally quite friendly with a good bit of that Aloha Spirit.

Moana has discovered that if she smiles and waves and yelps out, "Hi!" to people who pass by, she gets a very friendly positive response. Without fail today, she smiled and waved and yelped out, "Hi!" to everyone in her vicinity. And without fail, everyone smiled right back at her... waved right back at her... and said "Hi!" right back to her. Some even stopped to have more interaction with her. This happens everywhere we go- at the grocery store, the beach, the zoo, the park, the playground... Moana has learned that the world is a friendly place.

I think Moana is genetically wired to be a happy kid, but I'd also like to take some credit for her happiness. Because while I definitely have my moments, on the whole, I'd say I'm a 'Glass Half Full' kind of gal. So she sees me smiling a lot... clapping for her and saying "Yay!!" a lot... and just generally being positive. So maybe that gave her a good start into being a friendly happy kid. But it's gone beyond that now I think. It's become a cycle that she has been experiencing whenever we are out in the world. She smiles at people, and they smile right back. It's a positive feedback loop.

I don't think she's even had a negative experience with strangers. Because let's face it, it's hard to scowl at a cute little 1 year old who's smiling and waving at you. So that's all she knows. That people smile at her. It's really a cycle that just builds on itself. She smiles, people smile back at her, which makes her happy so she smiles some more, which makes people smile even more right back at her... these smiles are contagious.

I do wonder though, how her world would be different if she never smiled at anyone. If she never made an attempt to have that positive interaction with strangers. In all likelihood, she would be ignored by most people. And if most people ignored her, she probably wouldn't go out of her way to interact with them because that positive feedback loop wouldn't be rolling. In this case, the world might not seem like such a friendly place.

I think there's a lesson in here for all of us. Smile at people, and most people will smile right back at you. It'll brighten everyone's day. :)

13 comments:

Running and living said...

Whenever I have a tough day, I make a point to smile more. It always makes me feel better. There is some research on that, too!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

She is working on her runners trail ettiquite

SPGieck said...

It is funny how someone so young and innocent can teach us so much and remind us of how such a small gift like a smile can truly make someone's day.

N.D. said...

Sounds like a great day! She definitely has a great demeanor :)

Lisa T said...

Thanks for the reminder! I'm good at it when I'm having a good day, but I should take running and living's advice and work on it more on tough days.

Anonymous said...

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Lizzie said...

I love this post!! Moana makes me smile just in pics and videos! :) I love it when little kids are like that.

Nitsirk said...

Great post. It made me think that I should smile more. Sometimes stress and work make that hard but I have a great family and pretty much everything I ever wanted (except 6-pack abs :) ) so there really isn't any reason not to smile!

Angela and David Kidd said...

It's so funny because I often hear "Zach is such a happy boy" and I take such great pride in it and I wonder how much of it is me and David and how much of it is just the reaction he gets when he screams and laughs.

And I remember when I started law school I decided I was going to smile at every single person I walked past for the first week when I knew one. Law school was where I had some of the most fun and some of my best friends are from. I don't think it's a coincidence that it worked out that way given how I started.

DC Running Mama said...

This is a little lesson I had to teach myself in HS...going to four new HS in four years, I found that people don't want to be your friend unless you take the first step and are nice to them. How cute at Moana is waving and saying "hi"!

Regina said...

Sunny? 82˚F? I'll just keep my comments to myself ;)

My son is the same way. Now that he is older he goes up and talks to all the parents on the playground, talks to strangers. Now I am having to have the 'stranger' conversation with him without scaring the crap out of him and hindering his happy, go lucky outward personality.

Sounds like Moana is the mayor of town!

kerrie said...

i am a smiler/laugher and rain grinned at everyone she saw when she was a baby i thought i could take the credit for it.

for whatever reason, lucie growls....lol and when she could talk, she just started to say "i don't like people". wtf?
you win some, you lose some.

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!