Mother’s Corner

What a smile says to our children

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There is nothing like going to a school play, sporting event, recital or church program where our children are engaged.

Children who have practiced for this day are doing the best they can to remember their lines, their song, their instrument or the play. I can see the pride in each parent, friend, grandparent, aunt or uncle in the audience with phones recording and cameras flashing, watching their children excel, flub their lines or bang out something that sounds like a song — and regardless of the outcome, there is a smile.

We love our children. A smile, defined by Webster, is a facial expression in which the eyes brighten and the corners of the mouth curve slightly upward. A smile can express amusement, pleasure, approval or sometimes scorn. Smiling is contagious. It boosts your immune system, makes you look more approachable, lowers your blood pressure and makes you happier. A smile lightens the mood, covers for mistakes and extends a feeling of security. What would this world and our children’s lives be like if we practiced smiling more, liking each other more and being kind more?

Yolande Barial

Yolande Barial

At a time when chaos and the hustle and bustle of life seem to rule the day, we must create a timeout to focus on the children who are within our environment. Children who are not just looking for confirmation, but are also in need of the encouragement to try.

When my older son was a baby, I heard a radio doctor say that we should always smile when our children enter our presence because that smile allows them to know they are loved. I have worked to do this over the years and it makes me feel good on the inside because I love them so and they know it. When my children come into my presence, I smile. When they leave my presence, I smile (now, that smile could mean something else). When I talk to them on the phone, I smile.

Smiling is contagious and it takes the edge off.

As I type, I remember that during one youth Sunday at our church, our youth choir was singing and enjoying themselves. The young leader of the song hit the wrong key, and many of us cringed for half a second and then smiled and shouted, “That’s all right, baby, you sing that song!” She smiled.

Our smiling faces are where our children look for reassurance, comfort and attention. Give it a try sometime.

Yolande Barial is a Tracy resident and mother. Her column appears monthly in the Tracy Press. Comments can be sent to

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