The Smile of a Child

On the steps of the small, white house the young girl sat. You could tell there was something troubling her, for young girls are giddy and very much alive.

As I approached her, she lifted her head, but only for a moment.

“Well, what could be troubling you on this beautiful day?”

She did not reply.

I paused just a few feet in front of her. Waiting a little longer, hoping she would speak next, I began humming the song, “Smile.”

“I don’t want to,” she finally said.

“You don’t want to what?” I asked.

“Smile,” she replied.

“So you know that song?”

“Yes, I do. He always sang it to me.”

“Who did?”

There was silence in the awkward moment between the two of us.

“My Grandpa,” she said softly. “How did you know?”

“I didn’t. I saw you sitting there unhappy and it was the first song that came to mind.”

“It was our song,” she said.

“It was our song, too.”


“My Dad and I. He always sang around the house. When he saw me sad, just like you, he’d walk by singing,

“Smile though your heart is aching Smile even though it's breaking When there are clouds In the sky, you'll get by”

“That’s why I’m sad. He died yesterday,” she said.

I remembered how my life seemed to come to a halt when my Gramps died. Although other distant family members and friends of my parents had died when I was younger, losing Gramps changed who I was.

“I’m so very sorry.”

There’s so little you can say to a child about death that really makes sense to them. A hundred books on psychology can be found, but at that moment, face to face, you are helpless.

“I bet they are singing together right now,” I told her.

It took a second, but she finally lifted her head to look at me.

“Do you think so?”

“I know so. Because whenever I’m sad I can still hear him singing that song in my heart. Listen. Do you hear it?” I asked her.

“She sat up and tilting her head like a playful puppy, she said, “Yes, I can. I can!”

I told her “I’ll see you in my prayers!” and walked away.

Fading slowly in the distance I still could hear her singing…

(You know it. Why not join in)

“Smile though your heart is aching

Smile even though it's breaking

When there are clouds In the sky,

you'll get by If you smile

through your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You'll see the sun come shining through

For you

Light up your face with gladness

Hide every trace of sadness

Although a tear

may be ever so near

That's the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what's the use of crying? Y

ou'll find that life is still worth-while I

f you just smile

That's the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what's the use of crying?

You'll find that life is still worth-while

If you just smile”

Sweeter sounds cannot be found than the sound of a “Smile” of a child.”

(“Smile” Words by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons Music by Charlie Chaplin)

"I believe in you!" Bob Perks Copyright (c) 2003, Bob Perks. I encourage you to share my stories with your friends but, when copying I ask that you keep my name and contact information attached along with this notice. Use of this story for commercial purposes is prohibited without direct permission from the author.

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