Spotlight on Service: Simple Smile to a Serviceman

Happy Veteran's Day!  Today we have a special guest, Nicole, sharing a sweet experience she had with her family.  Take it away, Nicole!

This past Friday, I was getting ready for my morning run and the whole family – my husband, my 6-year old, and my 20-month old – decided they wanted to join me.  To my surprise, my 6-year old (who is too big for the jogging stroller) ran almost the entire 3 miles.  And with no complaining at that!  In celebration and in an attempt to renew his energy, we went to the grocery store to grab donuts for breakfast.  With their treasures picked out and thoughts of soon devouring the delicious chocolate treats in their bags, we left the store.  

As we exited the store, we saw a man dressed in his army fatigues on his way inside.  I felt prompted to say hello and wish him a good morning, but I quickly dismissed the thought.  I too was hungry and just wanted to get home to eat breakfast.  As we passed the gentleman, my 20-month old did what I had chosen not to – he gave the man a smile, waved, and said “hi.”  The man turned around, his face brightened into a smile, and he waved back.  At that point, we all wished him a good morning and thanked him for his service.  Not only were we able to make a connection with a neighbor and brighten his day, but this experience sparked a wonderful conversation on the drive home about our servicemen and women and all they do to protect our country and freedoms.  What a wonderful opportunity (and service) that man provided for us!

As I reflected on the day, I was most impressed by my young toddler’s example to me.  Rather than me impressing the importance of service upon my children, I had learned a powerful lesson from my almost 2-year old that day.  Through his simple (and almost effortless) act of service, I was reminded that service does not have to be an elaborate event or planned project.  A simple smile can go a long way in helping those who are feeling overwhelmed or burdened.  As we reach out to those around us – strangers, acquaintances, neighbors, or long-time friends – the world can become a better place one smile at a time.

I love Nicole's thoughts that, "A simple smile can go a long way in helping those who are feeling overwhelmed or burdened."  Have a special moment or service project with your family to share?  Contact us at to be featured in an upcoming Spotlight on Service post.