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Smiles Matter

Our words and actions can inspire others

by Janice Ross (revised, originally published in 2010)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider how words and actions can be used to inspire others.

Preparation and materials


  1. Ask the children to tell you the name of their favourite famous person.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Show the images of famous people one at a time.

    Ask the children if they can identify them. Explain briefly why each person is famous.

  3. Some of these famous people have inspired others to attempt to do great things. For example, sportspeople often inspire younger people to follow in their footsteps. Other famous people inspire others by the example of their lives. A good example of this is Mother Teresa.

  4. Show the image of Mother Teresa.

    Mother Teresa is one example of an inspirational figure. Physically, she looks very different from a famous sportsperson, but her life and attitude have had a massive impact on others.

  5. Sometimes, wealthy people who visited Mother Teresa would say, ‘What can I do to bring hope and peace in the world like you are doing?’

    Many expected her to say, ‘Give generously’, ‘Come and work here for a year’ or ‘Start an orphanage where you live’. However, Mother Teresa often gave the very simple answer, ‘Peace begins with a smile.’

  6. Isn’t that amazing? If we just start smiling at people and loving people with a smile, we could begin to change things in our homes, our classrooms, our town and even in our world.

  7. Perhaps you could decide to smile more often during this time, as a way of helping our community to feel more at peace.

Time for reflection

Light a candle, and give the children some quiet time to reflect again on the words of Mother Teresa, ‘Peace begins with a smile.’

Think about any situation you have already experienced since you got up this morning, such as at breakfast time, when leaving the house or on arriving at school.

- How might a smile have changed the situation?
- How might a smile have affected the other person?
- Did anyone smile at you this morning?

Dear God,
A smile is such a simple thing.
It makes us feel good, and smiling has been proved to be good for us.
A smile costs nothing and is so easy to do, over and over again.
Please help us to meet situations and people with a smile today.
Help us to bless others with our smiles and to bring peace with our smiles.


‘Peace is flowing like a river’ (Hymns Old and New, (Kevin Mayhew), 412, 2008 edition)

Publication date: July 2020   (Vol.22 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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