Sunday, May 1, 2016


"Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself." -Og Mandino

We need others in our lives, humans are not meant to be solitary creatures, we need others to maintain our sanity and our perspective. That is one of the reasons that solitary confinement is seen as a severe punishment. 

But how do we reach out to others. We are creatures of habit, most of us live within the habits or the paradigms we have created for ourselves and find it hard to break out of chains we have put ourselves into. 

Some of us are lucky in that we have found ways to do this while others struggle with this everyday. 

Og Mandino in his quote provides us with a clue as to how to meet and reach out to others. He says to smile, hug and share. This is good advice. 

Social Connectedness is as important for the teenager as it is for the senior. When I was teaching for a number of years I had my senior students run a project which I called the smile project. It was a simple project, I had the senior students pick a student in a younger grade that they say on a regular bases and smile every time the senior student saw the younger student. 

The senior student could not speak to the other student, all they could do was make eye contact and smile.  Once the younger student said hello to the senior student, then and only then could the senior student talk to the younger student. 

By running this project I accomplished a number of things, it made the younger students feel welcome in the school and created some strong friendships over the years. The project also allowed students to understand that they controlled how people saw and reacted to them.  

It also taught the senior students, many who were going off to university and college how easy it was to make new friends. Many of my senior students had been with their cohort since grade one and did not have any idea how to make new friends. Everyone in their cohort knew each other and everyone had their role.

I find it easy to reach out to others and I find reaching out starts with a simple smile and saying hello. People like positive people and when we go out of our way to make others feel good, we will feel good ourselves.

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