Tuesday, November 20, 2007

SMILE! You could be the one to stop child abuse...

The sight of human affairs
deserves admiration and pity.
And he is not insensible who pays them
the undemonstrative tribute of
a sigh which is not a sob,
and of a smile which is not a grin.
Joseph Conrad
A Personal Record, Preface

Can't help wondering...
what you're wondering about?

I'm wondering, as I always do, what we can do...
each and every one of us...
no matter where, when or to whom, that might make a difference in protecting a child from abuse.

Asking a lot? I guess.

But today I came across one possible answer!
The funny thing for me about this is that I use this tip in my own life, but just never thought about sharing it.


When I lived in Okinawa, Japan I was impressed by how friendly the people always were. I was told Okinawa was actually called "The Isle of Smiles."

A small island nation with its share of enemies, the Okinawans had decided early on to live by a simple philosophy as a means to increase their safety. Based on the premise that people might see you without a smile, assume that meant you were angry at them and might then attack you before you might attack them, they reasoned that the best defense then would be a good offense. SMILE! That way there wouldn't be any room for misunderstanding, they decided, and so they did.

And so I do when I encounter angry situations among adults and children. I also try to say something light and friendly to the child or children, just for good measure. usually it works for the moment to defuse the situation. That's a start...maybe one step closer to protecting the child at least for the time being.

So, Smile!
Now for the origin of today's musings. I've mentioned the site "Imaginif... Child Protection Became Serious Business" several times before. It's one of my favorite sites dealing with child abuse issues. It has posted a great piece by Megan Bayliss, Child Safety, entitled
"Who is Responsible for Child Protection. Smile, in case it is you!"
If that isn't a bumper sticker it should be! And even better as a bumper sticker is part of the closing lines in the article:
"Spread a random smile for child protection upon your dial today. Be careful and responsible though, its contagious and may cause great relief to a troubled person."
So, whether bumper sticker, or philosophy for living in a safer world,
"Smile!" is good advice.

On the other hand, in order to give you a full picture, and remind you that there are no simple answers, I'll tell you the rest of the story about Okinawa's smiles. The story is that some people from other lands talking about the Isle of Smiles decided that the smiles must be the result of some great secret. Perhaps a secret stash of gold? No the island wasn't big enough or wealthy enough to consider that as a reason for the gold. They decided the only logical explanation had to be that the Okinawans had discovered the Fountain of Youth! That lead to attempts to discover from the hapless Okinawans where the fountain could be found. With no answers, and only bigger smiles from the Okinawans, the foreigners frequently flew into rages and beheaded the Okinawans. So, as with all things...moderation is recommended!
And while I'm reminding you about Imaginif...'s site, let me recommend another recent post with a story that's sure to bring you a smile... see how we really can make a difference for the kids! Safe Kids: It's a Community Responsibility.
A Child is Waiting,
Take care...be aware,
Nancy Lee


Megan Bayliss said...

:) Thanks Nancy. Smiling is so simple and can have such tremedous effects at letting kids know they are valued that I don't know why we don't all go to smile parenting school.
:) Megan from Imaginif

Damara Lee said...

What a wonderful way to start each day. I have found simply that greeting my children at the end of the day off of the school bus with a smile they share the good things of their day "Guess what happened to me today Mom?" If I have had a bad day and meet them at the door they pick up on my cues, usually grumble a hello, and walk right past me. A smile does make a difference. And so can you....

Damara Lee.