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The Boy who picked up his Smile

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Once upon a time, in a small meadowy town, between rolling green hills surrounded by a glistening river where the scent of blooming flowers filled the air, and the sound of laughter echoed through the alleys, lived a boy named Andy. Andy was known in his town for his evergreen radiant bright smile.

One beautiful morning, as the golden rays of the sun painted the sky, Andy woke up to find that his smile had mysteriously fallen off. Panicking, he searched everywhere: under the sheets, beneath the bed, in the living room, and behind the couch. Finally, he found it lying on top of his laundry pile. Picking it up, he tried everything to reattach it – tape, glue, even rubber bands – but nothing seemed to work.

Feeling sad, puzzled and at loss, Andy was embarrassed to go into the town without his signature smile, so he decided to explore out of his town to find a solution. He walked for miles and miles until he reached a hill where an old, abandoned house stood. When he reached the entrance of the house, he saw an an old man sitting with a gloomy expression, which matched the condition of the house.

Inspiration struck Andy, he assumed that if he fixed this house, he might find something that can help him fix his smile.

“Excuse me, sir,” Andy said with a polite tone, approaching the old man at the entrance of the house. The man's voice croaked as he responded, “Hello there, young boy. What brings you to these parts?”

“Good morning to you, sir,” replied Andy. “I see this house is broken, and I want to fix it.” The old man's weary eyes looked at Andy with curiosity. “No one has been able to fix this house, young boy. Why do you want to fix it?"

“You see, sir,” Andy explained, "I woke up today to find that my smile had fallen off. I tried everything to put it back, but nothing seems to work. So, maybe by fixing this house, I'll find something that can help me reattach my smile.”

The old man listened attentively, nodding slowly. “You can try, my boy, but don't be disappointed. Some things in life just can't be fixed, you know.” he said, imparting his wisdom to the young boy.

Andy was determined to try, he looked around the house, it was huge. He started making the list of things that needed to be fixed. In his book he wrote:

After making the list, Andy decided to tackle the first issue. He carefully inspected the water supply area and soon discovered that the source of the problem were the leaking pipes. He checked his backpack and luckily he found some tape and used it to seal the leaks.

With all the repairs done, he excitedly turned on the water supply, and to his delight and the old man's surprise, the fountain near the porch sprang to life, gushing water gracefully.

Andy’s heart was filled with joy at the sight of the fountain's revival, but the old man scoffed and said, “just because you got water, doesn’t mean the house is fixed, little boy”

As he listened to the old man's remark, Andy shook his head he opened his book to make a list of things, this time it wasn’t a to do list, it was a “not to do list”

And at the very top of the list, Andy wrote, “I will not discount the positives in life.”

Andy proceeded with next items on his to do list - Roof, windows and doors. Climbing onto the roof, he noticed the roof had holes and he knew, just what to do. With a clear plan in mind, he went to the forest behind the house to gather the wood he needed, after which, he used glue and nails to fix the holes in the roof.

He used the same to fix doors and windows too , ensuring they were secure and stable. Throughout the repairs, the old man kept muttering under his breath, expressing doubt and skepticism at Andy's efforts.

“like that will hold.” “Yeah, it is gonna fall off any second now” “its of no use” As Andy was fixing the last window, gust of heavy wind blew, making new holes in the roof and the door he had just fixed to crack.

The old man, laughed out loud, and with a mocking tone, exclaimed,“Didn’t I tell you boy ! Give up now, its no use”

Andy looked around, and realised that despite the strong wind, his repairs had withstood the test. , and he took his book out and wrote the next point on his “not to do” list - “I will not give up, when things get difficult.”

Andy continued his work on the house, he diligently mowed the lawn. Eventually, he reached the last task - ‘Paint the house.’ The challenge lay in finding a waterproof paint, he came up with a clever idea to mix some oil. After testing it out on a small portion of the wall and and witnessing its success, he proceeded to paint the entire house, turning the house into a vibrant and beautiful sight.

The old man observed the boy with a begrudged expression, disappointed that Andy had successfully restored the house. Sensing the old man’s disapproval, Andy took out his book and wrote down his last lesson on his ‘not to do list’- “I will not lose hope in myself and my efforts.

Seeing Andy so determined, the old man made one last attempt to bring the boy’s spirit down. He said “you might have fixed the house but that doesn’t mean you can fix your simile”

To the old man’s suppose, when Andy turned around he saw that the boy had a bright radiant smile on his face. The old man looked perplexed, realizing that his attempt to diminish Andy's spirit had failed.

Andy, while he was fixing the house, learnt valuable lessons from the house and old-man. The old man had inadvertently taught him what he didn't want to do in life, which led Andy to, make the “not-to-do” list . As he glanced at his list, a bright smile spread across his face. He realized he didn't need temporary fixes like glue, tape, or rubber bands for his smile. He had learned that he could grow an infinite number of smiles from within, and he no longer needed to worry about picking up his smile if it ever fell off.

We all have come across this old man, in various forms in our lives—sometimes as a friend, a partner, a parent, or even as our own critical inner voice. Negative opinions and pessimistic comments surround us daily, but we have the power to overcome them.

We can use Andy’s list, or make our own not-to-do in our life list. This list can serve as a guide to help us deal with the old man's negativity and enable us to stay optimistic

Like Andy, we too have picked up our smiles, many times but let us together figure a way to generate those infinite smiles from within us, so we no longer need to worry about picking them up.

Stay hopeful. Stay positive. Embrace optimism.

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