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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

Use Your Smiling Voice
Date Posted: August 5, 2006

I am not the cheeriest person you will ever meet. I don’t smile as much as I should and I don’t greet everyone with a perky "Good morning!"

One of my sons has, sadly, picked up on my doom and gloom morning philosophy and is either grumpy or anxious in the morning. Quite the opposite, my younger son has the disposition of Mary Poppins and is singing and prattling happily about nothing from the moment he awakens.

I’m sure I have been responsible for lowering the mood of more than one person who has encountered me in the morning, not by being intentionally rude or difficult, but just because I’m not ready to face the day quite yet. The moods of others can affect us more than we realize. I try to remember this for my children’s sakes.

One particular gas station I frequent had a clerk who was just plain rude to the customers. She was rude to me on more than one occasion for no reason that I could fathom. She also treated a friend of mine rudely. She no longer works there. Now I am greeted by a smiling clerk who always thanks me and tells me to enjoy my day.

Another establishment that I call often used to have a receptionist who answered in a clipped voice and sounded as if it was a real imposition for her to answer your call and put up with you, even though that was her JOB! The new receptionist is at the other end of the spectrum. Now I am greeted with a "Good morning!" which sounds genuine and a tone of voice which implies, "I’m here to help."

What a difference than makes. The greeting sets the tone for the entire conversation – sometimes even the day.

I want to be more aware of the smile in my voice (or missing from it) as I encounter people, no matter the time of day or night. I don’t want to be responsible for setting a negative tone for their day. I don’t want to set that kind of example for my children. Most importantly, I don’t want to be that kind of ambassador for Christ.

Sometimes when I put on a smile and make an attempt at cheerfulness I start to really mean it!

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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