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Greet everyone with a smile and a compliment

20140729125019_00001It seems obvious, of course but it didn’t come naturally to our Scottish Presbyterian German household. Maybe you have to lose your consciousness of self to put it into practice.

Mom greeted everyone with a smile—genuine and infectious. Throughout the day she offered a cheery greeting to the nurses and staff of Supported Living. “You look so beautiful,” she would exclaim. Those smocks all the caregivers wear? I wouldn’t exactly call them pretty but Mom did. “What lovely outfits,” she told them.

And in return, everyone loved her. Who wouldn’t?

I try to emulate Mom. It turns out everything and everyone is much nicer when you start with a smile and something positive to say. Who knew?

By the way, Mom may have excelled at giving compliments but was still terrible at receiving them. Tell her she was beautiful and she would immediately make a hideous face to show you how wrong you were.

Old habits die hard.

Though sometimes she forgot even this. Once we were walking out of her apartment to find the hallway empty. Mom turned to me with a gleam in her eye and said, “You know what this means? We’re the most beautiful women in sight.”

In the old days I would have said, “Well, at least you are.” This time I just smiled.

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