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. :)