First, a big THANK YOU to all granddads out there. You deserve to be honored this Sunday on Grandparents’ Day. You play an important role because your Grandkids Matter!

(And for all other dads, make sure to get your kids involved in recognizing their grandparents this weekend.)

Now, back to our regular programming …

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Are you a smiling dad? What would your kids say? 

I believe that, sadly, too many children don’t view their dads as inviting and approachable, and much of it has to do with facial expressions … or lack thereof. 

But I believe God smiles on dads—blessing us with the privilege of having children, who are a heritage.

The power of a smile was deeply pressed into my own heart and mind by my beautiful wife more than 43 years ago. Part of what attracted me to Dee was her beaming smile, and she was a shining bright light to all those who knew her. Since her passing, many people have commented to me that they remember her smile. 

As dads, our smiles can bestow confidence and approval upon our children. If a child knows that his dad delights in him, then already the world is a better place. And the more we make a habit of smiling, the better. Research backs this up. (Yes, researchers have studied the impact of a smile.) Here are a few of the many positive outcomes from those who regularly smile at others. 

For one thing, smiling improves your mood. Just think of something you’re thankful for—like being a dad. If you’re like me, that alone brings a smile to your face, and smiling is unavoidable when you see them. That mood-booster not only impacts you, but it has a profound impact on them as well. And it’s contagious; they surely smile back at you, which multiplies the benefits!

More generally, simply smiling more can lead to deeper interpersonal relationships, more stable marriages, and children who enjoy your presence. 

Smiling has many other benefits. The research notes that smiles increase endorphins and boost serotonin, which are often called natural pain killers. Smiles can also lower your heart rate and, in the long term, will likely even increase your life span. 

Children need joyful dads who smile and laugh. So why aren’t we smiling more? 

My encouragement this week is to smile more in your daily life and whenever you’re with your kids. I know some dads face great difficulties just to see their kids and be part of their lives, and often they have limited access for no valid reasons. Still, even if it’s over the phone and they can’t see you smile, they’ll be able to tell in your voice. Maybe you can snap a quick selfie of your smile and send it to them, or call them up on a video chat. 

Maybe it will take some focused effort or leaving yourself reminders around the house or in your car, but it’s worth it. Your smiles will pay big dividends with your kids and bring joy to them.

Need more encouragement? Watch and listen to Nat King Cole sing the classing song …

Get specific and encourage other dads. How do you bring joyful smiles and laughter to your kids? Please share on our Facebook page.