Recently I listened to a prominent psychologist speak about the need for positivity in communities. Communities after all are systems and the prediction for the success of a system is the degree to which a system is positive or shows a positive outcome. After about an hour of heavy cerebral thinking – he looked out at us and smiled – paused and smiled again – this action – simple in its gifts delivered a lasting and critical message. SMILE! This is the key to creating positivity in communities. SMILE! This is the essential first step to building a positive foundation from which a community will grow. How right he is.
Think about your daily life, do you wake up with a smile? Greet your loved ones with a smile? Smile at other drivers as you go about your day? Smile at your teachers or fellow students? What is your first interaction with a person – a smile or not?
Many people do not see the world through a smile – they see obstacles that they must go over – through or around, their experience is not that of a positive community. Those of us at Runoia have lived the power of the smile. Each day campers and staff wake up to each other most often smiling – ready for the day ahead. As we move through our day we are greeted with a smile at the dining table, the compost bucket, the Tag board, the waterfront, the barn and everywhere else in camp. It is almost impossible to pass another member of the Runoia community and not exchange a smile. Together we are actively participating in our communities’ successful outcome – we are sharing our joy and receiving others.
At camp we still encounter obstacles that we must over come – and yet – we know that we have others to help us through. We know this because we have shared the power of the smile with them and we know that we are CONNECTED to one another. Connection adds to our communities’ positivity. We have a strong belief that we are connected to those around us and that we can reach out to them to help us to move beyond our obstacles.
How lucky we are that Runoia has shown us that communities are powerful – positive and full of smiles!
In light of this, we offer up a challenge to each one of you – bring the power of the smile to your world – to all of your communities: your families, schools, offices, sports teams, grocery stores, coffee shops, friends. Be the first to smile – encourage it in others – try to smile at everyone you meet for a whole day then a whole week, and we guarantee that not only will you feel the energy of being connected but you will change the moment for those around you. Talk to your communities about the power of the smile and offer the challenge up to others. See if we can bring Runoia positivity into the world.
Tomorrow morning where ever you start your day, pretend you are greeting friends at Flag Raising and SMILE away – you will love your day.