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Smile, please!

To think about smiling and why it is so important.

by Penny Hollander

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To think about smiling and why it is so important.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need some examples of smiley faces.

  • Examples of Victorian photographs (optional).

  • A piece of A3 card, folded in half, with the title ‘A Handbook About How to Live, by King Solomon’ on the front cover and inside the words: ‘A cheerful heart is good medicine’, Proverbs 17.22, written in large letters.


  1. Ask the children how they feel when someone smiles at them, e.g. makes them feel happy, welcome, safe, special, included, etc.

    You can buy lots of things with smiley faces on them in the shops (ask the children for examples). You may have smiley face stickers at school to show good work or effort.

  2. Say that smiling does us good and is healthy. In the Old Testament there is a book called Proverbs. Here’s one piece of advice from it. Show the folded card and then what’s written inside.

    Ask the children what they think this means. Try to draw out from them that being cheerful usually involves smiling and when you do that it makes other people feel happy – particularly if they are upset or having a difficult time. It’s like taking medicine when we’re not feeling well: it makes us better.

    Then when other people smile at us, we want to smile back and this makes us more cheerful. We often say ‘smile, please’ when we take photographs, so that other people looking at the photographs will be able to see that we are happy. Children can then demonstrate this.

  3. In Victorian times, though, it was the exact opposite when it came to having your photograph taken. You were told DO NOT ON ANY ACCOUNT SMILE. See how many children can keep a serious face, and for how long. If you feel like it, you could ask them not to smile while you do various daft things (we leave them to your imagination!).

  4. Smiling is infectious, or catching, but in a good way. There are times, of course, when we don’t feel like smiling (ask for examples from the children), but even if we are feeling sad or upset, if someone gives us a smile it can make us feel better.

    In the United States there’s a supermarket chain called Piggly Wiggly. If you look on their website you will see that they actually employ people as Smile Managers. Display and/or read the quotation:

    All about you.
    Now when you visit our stores, you can look for our Smile Managers, team members who’ve been hand-picked to make your shopping experience the best it can be. Smile Managers have a very important job – your smile.
    Each time you stop by, we’ll help you find that special product you’ve been looking for, fix any problem that might come up, answer all your questions and go the extra mile to ensure that you get the personal service that you deserve.
    Our Smile Managers are on the job 100% of the time to make sure you’re 100% happy, whether you’re doing your weekly shopping or you’re just stopping by to pick up one thing.

    Even a supermarket realizes how important smiling is in our daily lives. They are copying what was written in the Bible in about 180 BC!

  5. A final thought – scientists tell us it takes far fewer muscles to smile than to frown – so it’s easier work! Let’s all try to smile more often today.

Time for reflection


Is there someone you can think of who needs cheering up?
Can you smile at them today?
When we are cheerful it helps others to be cheerful too.


Thank you, heavenly Father,
for giving all of us the natural ability to smile.
Please show us how we can share this with other people today.


‘All the nations of the earth’ (Come and Praise, 14)

Publication date: October 2005   (Vol.7 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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