I recently read an article about raising kids as a mom in a society where the proverbial “village” no longer exists (read article here) and it has resonated with me on so many levels. My first take home from it is that most of the stress I carry about raising my kids is self-imposed because what little village I had I seem to have isolated myself from (a whole other kettle of fish that one) and secondly, that as expats in Dubai, irrespective of whether or not we are parents, we can so easily isolate ourselves and potter through daily routine life without taking in the the sights and sounds on more than a superficial level. This means that time flies by but we don’t ever form those connections and bonds we need as human beings to flourish and grow.
#AMileForASmile for me is that, a deliberate intent to stop, look around and force an interaction that for so many of us is uncomfortable by nature. Brain child of a dear friend of mine Toleen Badawi at The Tree Coaching & Development, it is the start of a movement. It is her attempt at bridging that gap and making each day a little brighter and happier for those we encounter. What started as a simple “power walk” in her weekly routine has become a personal mission and a regular event. I joined in recently during an event at The Walk in JBR with a group of fellow moms from Dubai Stay At Home Moms and loved every minute of it. I won’t lie, the first family we approached was less than enthusiastic but we persisted and it was 45 minutes of utter uncomfortable (I am far too introverted for this to be comfortable) fun! We met couples on holiday, security personnel, artists, dreamers and businessmen and the smiles got bigger as we got further along.
The point? Take a few minutes next time you’re out and about and just smile at the person you happen to cross paths with, trust me, it works and it’s magical. Next time, be a bit braver and say hi or snap up a selfie and share it on social media with the hashtag #AMileForASmile!