Children love to create artworks using pencils, crayons, paints and anything they can stick to a surface using glue. With access to a variety of materials, they can be absorbed for hours creating their masterpieces.
While they might select from the materials offered, I found the one thing that few children could resist was glitter—and the more of it, the better.
There is nothing like glitter to add a bit of sparkle to the day. The only trouble is, glitter is so light and so small, that it goes everywhere—on the artwork, on the table, on the chair and on the floor. It sticks to the hands and is smeared on the face and takes forever to remove from the hair. But everyone loves it nonetheless, and it adds a little brightness to the day.
Smiles are like glitter in that they also spread easily and brighten the day. However, they are not nearly so messy, cost nothing, and require no cleaning up at all.
I think smiles are the glitter we should add to the artwork that is everyday life. And if there’s one thing about smiles, the more you give, the more you receive. Smiles come from a bottomless well, from a source that never dries up. A sprinkle of smiles will make anyone’s day sparkle, and who knows what difference a smile can make to another’s life.
I often think of The Ripple Effect, written by Tony Ryan, and its inspirational stories. I especially enjoy this quote by Bette Reese included in the book: “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.”
One of Tony’s stories describes the following scenario:
“As you enter the freeway, you discover that the traffic is heavier than usual, and is moving quite slowly. You then notice that the young driver in the car beside you is trying to enter your lane, because her exit is coming up. No-one is letting her in, and she is becoming tense and upset.”
Tony then describes the turning point in her day:
“You stop, and wave her in front of you with a flourish and a smile.”
and the ripple effect:
- “she returns your smile, acknowledges your thoughtful action, and drives on
- her tension dissipates, and she arrives at her company office feeling buoyed by your little effort
- as the main receptionist, she is the first to greet the hundreds of people who enter the office each day
- with her positive greeting, she decides to brighten up the life of every person she meets throughout that day
- because of her efforts, many others in the business district are inspired to focus on their own positive efforts.”
Like glitter, we can never know how far the effects of our smiles might travel. There can never be too many smiles in any one day, especially in a classroom filled with children.
This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about man glisten. It was a fun term coined by two men with glitter in their beards. What more could it embrace? Look to the unexpected and embrace a playful approach. Go where the prompt leads.
I’d only come across the word “glisten” before in the Christmas carol, Walking in a Winter Wonderland.
But Charli’s prompt reminded me of an incident in my childhood that had absolutely nothing to do with glitter or glisten (I don’t even remember glitter in my childhood) but loads to do with smiles. I’ve rewritten the incident to include glitter and other alternative facts. I hope it gives you a smile.
Glitter smiles glisten
Relentless rain meant no beach for the country cousins. They spent eternity on the verandah, making artworks, playing games, and bickering.
On the last day, when Mum said to clear space for their mattresses, they fought over who’d do what. Toys and games ended up in a haphazard tower with the glitter bucket balanced on top.
When Dad bent for goodnight kisses, he stumbled and demolished the tower. Glitter went everywhere—including all over Dad. The children gasped.
“Your hair glistens, Dad,” smiled the littlest.
Dad smiled too, then everybody laughed.
Dad wore a hat to work that week.
I previously wrote about this incident for inclusion in a Writing Skills Homework Book published by Pascal Press. Workbooks such as this are very different from the teaching resources I now share on readilearn, but: it was paid work.
This version is closer to the truth.
Strike Me Pink!
Because we lived near the beach, our cousins visited one Easter. Unfortunately, it rained all weekend. Just imagine eight children under ten years old and four adults cooped up in one tiny cottage. Everyone’s patience was wearing thin. We children were starting to whinge and niggle each other. The adults were trying to keep cool and prevent us from hurting each other.
One night when it was all too much, the children were sent to bed early. Four of us were on mattresses on the floor. The line for drying washing, strung across the room overhead, held only one item: my pink dressing gown. I had carelessly tossed it there out of the way.
When Dad came in for a goodnight kiss he thought we looked like a row of toy soldiers in a box. Bending down he exclaimed, “Strike me pink!” And he was! The dressing gown fell from the line and draped over his shoulders like a cloak. What mirth erupted at the sight of my father looking like a pink general. The tensions eased and smiles returned to everyone’s faces.
The next morning was fine as our cousins left for home. We hadn’t been to the beach, but we did have a story to share that would bring a smile to our faces for many years to come.
Note: I don’t know how many others used the term, but my Dad often said, “Strike me pink” to express surprise.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.