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Mark Goulston, M.D. Headshot

Just Listen -- What Made You Smile Today?

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"Every day at least one thing makes you (and your children) smile."
- Harry Glazer

One of my close friends, attorney Harry Glazer, was telling me recently how when his kids are happy he's happy and when they're not, he's not. My wife's version of this is: "You're only as happy as your most unhappy child." I agree with both of them.

Harry then told me that he knows that there is at least one thing that makes his kids smile each day, but he often doesn't hear about that because they mainly call him or text him about a problem or to ask for something.

Harry thought about this and responded to this situation by each day sending out a text to each of his young adult children, age 19 and 22, asking them: "What made you smile today?" And he meant anything such as seeing their refrigerator had their favorite food, getting a great parking spot with money already in the meter, noticing one of the many inane things that show up on their facebook page, a hot shower after being out in the cold.

At first his children thought he was just being a nerd or goofy, but he persisted. He has also taken to sending them a quote for the day to think about that might relate to something they are going through. Over time this has made a difference in his relationships with them. He thinks that exchange helps put an additional smile on their faces as well as his own because a) it forces them to pause and remember something happy each day; b) by sending their answer to their dad, they know they are making him happy which underneath all their daily problems, they enjoy doing.

Another friend of mine, Marshall Bitkower, a Los Angeles based attorney, has started a blog entitled, MYBLOGMITZVAH, where he invites people to share not what made them smile, but what they did to put a smile on someone else's face.

I hope you'll visit his page and share what you did today to make someone else smile. The world could certainly use it.

I hope this post puts a smile on your face as imagining you reading it has put one on mine.

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PBS' 'This Emotional Life': The Physical Limits Of Human Experience

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