Why do children captivate us so? Old, young, men and women, everyone can think of a time a child spoke words of wisdom to them unintentionally or touched their heart in a way no other human being could. They say the most profound things usually with impeccable timing and extend kindness and warmth with reckless abandon. They have a completely uncomplicated approach to happiness. If they see someone who is unhappy, they strive to fix it. Unlike adults, their solutions are straightforward and concise. Their method to addressing this person’s unhappiness is to give love without ego or hesitation of what others think. No repercussions, no second thoughts, no questions regarding who’s right or who’s wrong, and clearly without fear.
As adults we are well aware that the older we get the more jaded we become about this amazing miracle called “life” and lose sight many times of what is ultimately important. During our time at CHOC (Children’s Hospital of Orange County) what struck me the most was seeing the optimism many of these children had in the face of terminal illnesses, the bravery they possessed and comfort and reassurance they selflessly provided to those around them. They were some of the most incredible human beings I have ever encountered. Their love, gratitude, and inner-strength was unwavering. It was these kids and those individuals that cared for these families that inspired The Infinite Smile Project.
There were so many ideas overflowing in my mind during the initial days of the project. I wanted to inspire all ages and walks of life but in order to be effective I felt I had to focus on one group in particular to be our initial ambassadors and make it as fun and influential as possible. In the end I decided I wanted to focus on children first and how they can propel the effects of simple acts of kindness and love without ego to others with this same reckless abandon. After observing the children giving the wands away at the beginning of the year and the joy that overwhelmed them after they could touch, feel, give and receive love all in one simple act of kindness was an incredible thing to witness. After watching event after event I realized that it consistently had the same result: the kids themselves did the acts of kindness but the parents were touched in way that was unexpected. It was at that moment I decided the most effective way for us to remember what it feels like to return to these basic ideals was to watch our children emulate them. In the end we had set out to teach them about being kind, generous and compassionate but ultimately it was the adult that unknowingly became the student.
It’s been an amazing few months watching what spreading kindness has taught and changed my children. When someone is sad they instantly ask me, “Mommy, can we give them a wand today?”. They are little mini-celebrities everywhere we visit that at one time received a wand and act of kindness. It’s made them more generous, thoughtful, confident and aware of others. It’s done all these things for them and hopefully will mold them into more caring and compassionate young adults. For me, it’s simply made me happy and proud.