Let's Get Psyched: Smiles, We Need Them

by Randy Kiel | May 8, 2020

Deacon Randy Kiel

From my earliest childhood, I can remember that it was only a slight turn to the right from my bedroom and a short walk down the hallway to my parents’ room.

There, hanging on the wall, as though it was a coat of arms, we were greeted by a picture that hung on their entry wall. Inside a fragile old frame was a simple, yet profound poem.

Over the years, I read it so many times that it seemed it must be the family motto. The poem was called, Take Time to Smile.  It had such a natural cadence and rhythm that, to me, it read as a melodious prayer.

The message was clearly received by all; it is important to smile.

We need smiles. Whether we are aware of it or not, our brains are continually mapping the facial expressions of others so as to interpret safety, familiarity, friend or foe, and all the emotional and motivational ranges of others.

While It is heartwarming to see the effects of our own smiles on the faces of others, we will also long to see a smile return to a loved one after a season of sadness, a conflict, or a bout of depression.

But the quickest expressions of all to be internally interpreted are those of anger and disapproval.

As children, we learned these emotions so quickly because, to our little minds, security felt threatened when anger and disapproval were exhibited.

These begin all children’s sense of insecurity. The sense of security for all of us began with the simplicity of a smile. This is why we long to see an authentic smile as It communicates more than words. Without smiles, relationships are impaired.

As the father of four children, I have sat for hours, long ago and even still, and stared at the babies in my arms and even now the adult children in front of me.

Sometimes I just smile at them, not needing anything in return but just to be present. In these moments, it is impossible not to smile. From their infancy, my wife and I would sit, hold, rock, sing…and smile. We smile into the souls of our children. The need for this does not dissipate with age. We might not ever know all the miraculous things that a smile can do in another’s life, but we do know scientifically as well as spiritually that a smile builds the foundation of a child’s security in life.

Smiles are a sign of God himself because God is love. Realize that when you give a smile to someone you show them God. The smile says “I see you,” “I hear you,” and “I receive you.”

Many times we hear that we disappoint God in ways such as the lack of worship, sin, omission of charity, or by selfishness.

I’m not so sure if God gets disappointed as we know disappointment.

We mostly see disappointment as personal failure through a frowned reaction. God smiles, all the time, even in all his righteousness and judgment, even in his wrath, he smiles.

This is not because he takes some sort of pleasure in our earthly struggles, it is because he loves us in the midst of all our struggles. It is because we are still his children in his arms, crying and screaming at times, and he is holding us and rocking us and singing to us and…smiling at us. No matter what, he takes time to smile. No matter what, he is loving us.


Take time to smile

The world is drenched with tears

And smiles will keep you young

But frowns will haste your years

And what, though the day goes wrong

Tomorrow is still worthwhile

And all of life is yours

Take time to smile.


“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
– Mother Teresa


Please know, that as I write this article, I am smiling for all of you.

Randy Kiel

Randy Kiel is the founder of Kardia Counseling and is a deacon serving at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Des Moines, Iowa. To connect with Deacon Randy, email randy@kardiacounseling.com.