“Anyone want to share their experiences this week?”
I’m stood in front of my third year, Life Strategies class. It’s Friday, the day we have set aside to journal and/or discuss the weekly challenge. This week’s challenge has been to smile at someone new.
I never know with this crowd whether or not the challenges will work, but it’s a gamble I’m willing to take. Early assessments told me that self-esteem ran low amongst these students, most indicating there was no point even trying. The class is designated as “behavioural”, and we’ve had our share of heated moments, but I am motivated to make a difference.
“I will,” comes a mumbled response from the first row. I pray he doesn’t see my surprise.
C is a hulk of a young man, his ox-like neck always sporting a thick gold chain, an oversized t-shirt, and jeans that barely stay up. A scar runs the length of his cheek and his hair is cropped short and mean.
“C is okay,” his cousin once told me. “Just don’t cross him.”
I can’t remember the last time C has spoken up his class. His demeanour is typically flat and well buttoned up.
“I took your advice,” he begins. “You know…smiled at people as they walked by in the halls, and you know what happened? They smiled back. And they started to talk to me. I don’t feel like such a stranger anymore.”
I can’t remember how I responded, but I know I get teary-eyed even writing about it today. C’s classmates high-fived him and made noises of encouragement and C grinned wide.
I know you are all adults, and that the magic of a smile is not lost on any of you, so I challenge you to pay attention to and share some smiles this week.
Looking forward to your responses.