When did it stop?

I have much to be blessed for in my life, people, events, moments and more.  One such moment happened yesterday on the train home from Paddington.

Sitting across the aisle from me was a pretty little girl of around three or four.  You know the type, hair all over the place, big eyes looking everywhere and at everything, legs that dangle over the edge of the seat.  She was with her Father.

Apart from the fact she was noticing everything, what alerted me to her was that she was blowing kisses, not to anyone, just blowing them.  She was also chattering to her Father about her stuff.

When the woman opposite her was talking on her mobile, she was desperate to know what she was talking about, and her Father did his best to keep her quiet.

She looked at me and smiled with those big dark eyes.  What do I do, my heart said smile back, as that is the most natural thing to do, so I chose to smile.  We smiled many times during the journey, as did her Father and I.  As I left the train, she smiled again, waved and said bye.  I returned the smile and the wave, and told her Father what a lovely daughter he has.  Her smile is still with me today.

How different it could have been.  I could have had my head in a work project, worrying about some future event.  I could have ignored her smile and made her feel wrong.  I could have given the ‘look’ to her Father, enough to say, “Can’t you keep her quiet”.  He may have been embarrassed and then tried to keep his daughter still and quiet.  How many times do we do that?  To our children, to other people?  By my being that way I would have missed the gift that she was giving me.

When does that little girl finally get conditioned to stop smiling at other people because she does not get a smile back from them, or when others tell her not to smile at strangers.

After all, it is said that a stranger is only a friend we have not met.

If enough of us smiled at each other, maybe little ones may continue smiling until they are old enough to make their own choice as to whom they smile.

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