Last week’s edition of CBS’s Sunday Morning played a short editorial about smiles behind the masks that really struck a nerve with me. I wear a mask when I go out in public (Why? Read my blog about it). I’ve been thinking about that editorial all week, and I’m sharing my thoughts.

I’ve always been a smiler. It’s part of who I am. I smile at everyone and in most situations. Back in my high school days when I worked as a waitress at a restaurant owned by the Southern Ute Tribe, the tribal chairman called me Sunshine because I smiled all the time. I’ve always been proud of the name he gave me. If you don’t like people who smile a lot, you won’t like me.

With the pandemic, I haven’t had a chance to do a lot of smiling. I’m at home most of the time, and no one sees me smile here other than Hubby. When I go out, my smile is covered by my mask. I have found it to be a disturbing experience. People don’t know that I’m a happy-go-lucky person because they can’t see my smile. The checkout people can’t see me giving them my best smile when I wish them a good day. I feel totally handicapped by my mask. Don’t tell me not to wear it because I care too much about others to stop.

The story last Sunday morning was about putting a smile in your voice. By using your tone of voice you can put sound to your smile which can be conveyed through any mask. Instead of letting a silent gesture express my feelings, I must learn how to use my voice to do it for me.

Tone of voice conveys a lot of information to the hearer. A higher-tone expresses friendship, and a higher tone with a slightly airy voice conveys gratitude. Deep tones project authority and commands. Using each tone in the appropriate situation is important, and when used wisely, projects a lot of information to the hearer.

As I’ve aged, my voice has deepened so I have to remember to use my higher voice at the checkout and when speaking to strangers. I can practice these techniques by talking to myself or a stuffed animal. By putting friendliness in my voice, I’m sharing my smile even though it can’t be seen (see this website for more information).

So I ask you to join me and put a smile in your voice, whether you wear and mask or not, and brighten someone’s day. Spread kindness because the world is sorely lacking in that commodity. Be the one who cheers someone who is feeling down or feeling taken for granted. All it takes is adjusting your tone of voice. Remember you reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7).

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

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