"Do One Act of Kindness. Make One Person Smile."

October 07, 2016

I know it doesn’t seem like there’s much to smile about—hurricanes, contentious presidential elections, and various other distressing events and tragedies grab headline space in print and online. There’s often not much we can do about the darkness in the world…except try to lighten it a little by caring for others, by sharing simple pleasures with others, spreading the ripples of kindness. 

Image courtesy Billy Alexander
Today is World Smile Day, a day its founder Harvey Ball (the artist who designed the original smiley face) envisioned as a day we go out of our way to smile and do kind acts. Its motto is simple: “Do one act of kindness. Make one person smile.”

I find it so easy to become overwhelmed by the troubles in the world and in the lives of those I love, not to mention my own struggles.  I’m ashamed to still need constant reminders to seek for small kindnesses to share with others, but I’m going to keep trying. One act of kindness at a time.

What kind actions made you smile today?

Harvey Ball

Smiley Says: Happy World Smile Day

October 02, 2015

Photo courtesy Gerd Altmann
In 1963, commercial artist Harvey Ball created the image of a smiley face for a “friendship campaign” for employees of an insurance company. The image was to be used on buttons, desk cards and posters. He was paid $240 for the drawing, which he said took about 10 minutes. To everyone’s surprise, this image became wildly popular in the 60s and 70s, so much so that Ball became concerned that the over-commercialization of the image had hidden its original purpose as a symbol of friendship and good cheer. In 1999, he declared that the first Friday in October should be World Smile Day, a day devoted to smiles and kind acts. His hometown of Worcester, MA, celebrated, and eventually events commemorating World Smile Day spread throughout the world.

Following Ball’s death, the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation was established in 2001 to honor him and continue sponsoring World Smile Day as well as supporting other grassroots charitable activities.

It’s simple to be part of World Smile Day: “Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile.”

Share your experiences on Facebook or Twitter, or just with those you love. And happy World Smile Day!