Smiles, since the down of mankind, have had a calming influence among people. Especially strangers. When two strangers meet in a dubious situation and one smiles, the guard of the second is let down and he smiles, too. You don't have to speak the same language or be from the same culture to recognize a smile as a sign of peace and possible friendship.
Have you ever watched the facial expressions of the people who are trying to negotiate peace in the Middle East, nuclear disarming for North Korea, or trying to simply settle a strike in Detroit, Michigan. Their lips are usually curled down in frowns, their eyes have no glitter in them, their faces have turned harder than stone. Their expressions alone would indicate that they do not like their opposition and are likely, subconsciously, to fail. But if these negotiators began to treat each other as friends instead of the opposition and exchanged smiles for frowns, success at the negotiating table would be more successful.
Just as eyes can see into the heart, smiles can send messages of peace and friendship to the heart. A stranger could be made to feel at home in a distant land with a smile. A wall flower at a High School dance could come out of his shell with a smile. An injured person could be set at ease with a reassuring smile.
But not only that, smiles can bring beauty to our world. Nothing, and I repeat, nothing will brighten up a face more than a smile. Smiles can turn a homely face into a vision of beauty. I have watched many times the war in Iraq and have seen children smile many times. Even though these children have suffered and are standing in war-torn cities, their smiles seem to bring a sense of peace. A sense of beauty among the rubble. A sense that all is not lost.
As a volunteer who drives the elderly to their doctors appointment with my own car at no charge, I have learned first hand of the power of a smile. When I help these people out, I am always rewarded with a genuine smile. These smiles to me are more valuable than a treasure. They are given as a sincere form of appreciation, but they go far beyond that for me. These smiles bring me a sense of achievement, a sense of love, a sense of peace.
As a police officer years ago, I had arrested a man for impaired driving and brought him to our office for a breath test. The corporal who was booking him, noticed that the man was extraordinarily depressed. The corporal smiled and said to the man, "Do you know what the longest word is in the English language? It's SMILES. It starts with an S and it ends with an S with a mile in between." The man who I had just arrested smiled.