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Smile If You Love Me!

I asked my soon-to-be 1st grader what I should write about in my next blog. Without missing a beat she replied; “that you love me.

My first thought was ‘of course I love you, but how is that a topic for a blog?’ Then I stopped, reframed her response and, well here we are - you’re reading a blog that I wrote based on a six year olds suggestion.

There was a game that was occasionally played back in my camp days called “Darling.” The idea was to not be ‘it’ or in the middle and the way you got out of the middle and swapped seats with a fellow camper was to get them to smile. It was pretty simple: you would say to them “Darling if you love me won’t you please smile.” If they could reply “Darling I love you but I just can’t smile” without smiling, you had to move on and try again with someone else.

A silly sounding game then and now - but I believe it makes a simple point - there are indicators that tell when someone loves you - like a smile. And our kids are always watching and listening. I asked my daughter how she knew I loved her and she said; “because you always tell me.” It may seem simple, but I am intentional with making sure my kids know they are loved.

I want to challenge you with three “Smile If You Love Me” thoughts this month:

  1. Check Your Mirror - you can chalk it up to “you can’t give what you don’t have” or “you have to lead yourself before you lead others” - but bottom line, if you can’t yet look in the mirror (where I believe leadership begins), smile, and know that you love yourself it’s gonna be hard to love someone else. So, check your mirror!

  2. Tell Them - with words and actions that you love them…every day!

  3. Surround Them - just like in the game, “Darling” we sat in a circle - a circle of campers and counselors that were building relationships of love and support among the camp-family. You as well must make sure your youth are surrounded by peers and other caring adults who love them. So, take stock of who is in their circle - maybe even share this blog with them.

John Maxwell says: “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” Putting a smile on the face of those we love may just be the best form of leadership we can each pursue this week. They may not be saying it (out loud) but our youth absolutely need to know they are loved without a doubt. When they know this they are more able to live into their potential AND they know who they can come to in the ups and downs of being a youth today.

Make it a great day & smile too,


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