concentrator

Some people always have a calm look on their face, even if they are not smiling, they somehow manage not to be frowning. Things don’t really work that way for the concentrator…which is what I am. Concentrators tend to have a frown on their face, so people might think they are mad, when in fact, they are not. They might not have even noticed that anyone is looking at them, much less smiling at them. At least not until that person says something to them or writes them a note saying, of all things, “You really should smile!” For the concentrator, there is really no bigger insult. Maybe the person who said it, meant no harm, but if they thought about it, there are much nicer ways to get someone to smile.

In fact, the other day, while I was driving down second street in Casper, Wyoming, I saw a young man walking down the street. It was not a warm day, and the young man was bundled up in a coat and hat, but even with the distinct chill, to put it mildly, the young man has a smile on his face as he walked along. He wasn’t on the phone, or walking with someone else, and he wasn’t talking, so I could see no specific reason for the smile on his face.

I wondered what he was thinking about that would put a smile on his face. It didn’t matter really, because I smiled instinctively, because he was smiling. It didn’t matter what he was smiling about, his smile made me smile. It was sort of like the movie, Pay It Forward, except with smiles. I though about what a nice young man he might be, but whether I was right or not, didn’t make any difference. His smile told a tale all its own. A tale of Smiling it forward. It sounds silly, but that is what that young man did. His smile brought a smile to my face, and perhaps my smile brought a smile to the face of someone else, and so on…smiling it forward.

Me when I was youngerIt seems that for every day, there is a designation…some more significant than others, but each with it’s designation nevertheless. Today is National Attitude Day, and while I think some of the designated days are silly and some downright ridiculous, some of them are designed to make you think a little. National Attitude Day is one of the latter. People so often allow negativity to dominate their lives, but think about the people in your life who are always happy and who always have a good attitude. Those are the people you want to have in your life, because they make you smile just to think about them. Those people have just as many problems as the people you know who are always negative. They just don’t let their problems determine their attitude.

My mother was one of those people who refused to let her problems determine her attitude. She would just start singing…usually something like “Keep on the Sunny Side” or “Let a Smile be your Umbrella.” Of course, as kids, we didn’t always appreciate her attitude…especially when we felt like it meant that she didn’t understand that we had a problem and we weren’t happy about it. She did understand though, and that was why she started singing. She knew that if she could get us singing too, we would feel better. That’s the thing about a good attitude…it makes you feel better, even if you have problems. That is something I find myself missing very much about my mom…her attitude. She used to do the funniest things in an effort to get all of us Goofy Momlaughing, especially if we were fighting, and believe me when I say that five girls can fight…everything from an argument to a hair pulling fight. Mom sometimes got so frustrated with a fight that she would clear an area of a room out and tell us to fight. Of course, that usually made us all laugh, so the fight would be over. A very wise woman, my mom!!

People don’t like to see a person with a bad attitude. They take one look at your face, and if you have a sour look on it, they start doing everything they can to make you smile. As a teenager, I used to just hate that. I tended to be a concentrator, and so often had a frown on my fact…probably not the best way to go through my young life, but it is what it is. I can’t tell you how often people tried to tell me to smile…while I did, I was also annoyed. I look back now and realize they were trying to do the same thing my mom was…get me back on the sunny side of life.

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