Monday, May 6, 2013

One, Two, Three, Smile

I love to take pictures of my kids.  Love it.  I never really struggled to get a kid to smile until Ashley came to town.  She had never learned how to smile.  Pretty sad if you think about.  She never really had a reason to smile before and without practice she did not know how to smile.  It was a learning process that took us through the most awkward stages.

Here is our first picture of Ashley.  Not too bad in the smile department.  We didn't realize we started with the best she had to offer.




But after those first few moments with her, we never really got another one quite as stellar.


There was this one while opening Christmas presents in the hotel room...




This one all dressed up for a dinner out and Christmas Eve service...



This one while spending the day at the children's museum...


So after that initial week I knew we had some work to do in the smile department.  We came up with a plan.  We found that smiling was difficult for her if she had to hold it for more than just a second or two.  We instituted the one...two...three idea.  Each time she would pose for a picture, I would count to three.  On three she would smile.  Pictures became so much better and more natural looking.  

We ended up with gems like this...


And this...


We were making progress!  The only problem with our system was that every now and again Mom pushed the button before saying three.  Resulting in pictures like this...


I promise she was not mad.  This was her "before three" face.  

We no longer have to use the one, two, three method.  These days Ashley's smiles are authentic and pretty much constant.  No more strained smiles and no more quick ones.  Now we have complete authenticity in pictures like this...


This is the one she constantly wears.  This is the one we all know and love.  This is the real one.

If you have kids or students who struggle to smile, think about what it is in their little lives that might be keeping them from learning.  Maybe life has been filled with some sort of trauma.  Maybe they come from a place that is void of any type of joy.  Regardless of where they come from, help them to smile.  Model it with yours (even if you don't feel like smiling at them).  Take their picture and show them.  Kids in hard places seldom to never get to see themselves in photos.  It's something I always took for granted, but something Ashley showed me was a little sweetness in her world.

Go ahead, find that camera.  I'm going to go grab mine now!

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