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Have you used a smiley face lately in an email or text? Me, too. I like to do it the old-fashioned way with a colon and an ending parenthesis (can anything electronic be old-fashioned?), but when I do that on my old phone (that I am using now since I dropped my new phone in a commode back in December, and even though I left it in rice for about a month, it still doesn’t work, and I am waiting until my Verizon contract is up in April, so I can get a new one without it costing so much–I know that is a long parentheses; I just wrote it for the fun of it), my colon and parenthesis turns into a funny-looking green guy. My email program has buttons where I can add yellow faces with expressions that the program has labeled smile, frown, wink,  tongue-out, laughing, embarrassed, undecided, surprise, kiss, yell, cool, money-mouth, foot-in-mouth, innocent, cry, and lips-are-sealed.

People have not always used smiley faces. I never saw one until the 1970s.

I doubt that Harvey Ball of Worcester, Massachusetts, had any idea what he was starting when he earned $45 for his smile design back in 1963. That is when an employee of the State Mutual Life Assurance Company of America asked the Harvey Ball Advertising company to create a smile which could be used on buttons, desk cards, and posters as part of a “friendship campaign,” designed to help with employee morale.

Ball drew his original design in ten minutes. In 1964 the company ordered one hundred smiley face buttons. Later company orders rose to 10,000 buttons per order.

In the 1970s, the smiley face became part of popular culture across America and now, more than forty years later, we use them in ways Harvey Ball (1921-2001) could not have dreamed of back in 1963.

I like the positive message that the smiley face represents and I like to be around positive people–most of the time. Sometimes though I am sad and I like to be around someone who will let me be sad and who will be sad with me. I think everyone feels that way deep down. I struggle a bit with folks who are so positive that they won’t let me be sad for a little while. You know who I mean–the very well-meaning folks who say “this’ll fix it” statements, like “Well, at least . . . .” or “I’m sure things will turn out alright . . . .” Those kinds of statements make me feel like the conversation is over and I had better not say anything else. I find myself doing this to people, too.

I think God understands that we have different emotions and that they are not all happy. It isn’t good to stay stuck in the sad ones, but it’s not wrong to feel that way sometimes.

You (and all the other homeschool moms you know) need people who will feel with them right where they are. Husbands need wives who will do that. Children need parents who will do that, too. After all, God told us to:

Rejoice with those who rejoice, 
and weep with those who weep. 
Romans 12:15, NASB

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