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The Boy Who Never Smiled
by Theresa McMillan

There once was a boy who never smiled. His name was Matt Downer. But all the kids called him “Mad Downer,” because they said he always looked mad. He never smiled at his mother or father. He never smiled to his friends. He never smiled when he was happy. And he never, never smiled when he poised for a picture. He just never smiled. He even hated the very idea of smiling. When his mother or father tried to get him to smile, Matt would shout “No!” When Matt’s friends asked him why he never smiled, he said, “Smiling is for losers. Why should I smile?” He never seemed to care that not smiling was making everyone around him sad.

Timmy Hapton was a boy who couldn’t smile. He wanted to smile very badly. He would look in the mirror and tried to smile with all his might. He would press his hands against his cheeks as to help himself to smile and said, “Smile.” But nothing worked

One night when Timmy was going to bed he said, “Mommy, why was I made like this?” Timmy’s mother said, “Well, your smile is special because it is in your heart. Most people think a smile is just what you make with your face. But it is really much more than that.”

“A smile is what you feel when you are happy or when you see someone you like. A smile can be a hug or a pat on the back to say I care. A real smile is what you feel.” Timmy was happy to hear that.

Matt’s school was having picture day. All the classes were going to have their pictures taken. When it was Matt’s class, everybody took their places and started smiling. That is everyone except Matt of course. All of Matt’s classmates tried to coax him to smile by saying, “Come on, Matt, smile!” But Matt still had a stone face.

Matt’s teacher, Miss Kind, saw what was happening. She took Matt aside to talk to him. “Matt”, she said, “You need to smile. A smile is important. It shows what you are really like.” Matt did not smile. Miss Kind was lost as to what to do and she said to Matt very seriously, “Matt, someday people will not want to be around you because of your not smiling attitude.” Matt just stared into space. Miss Kind said to herself, “Matt, I wish you could understand.”

Timmy’s mother told him he was going to be in a new class. Timmy was a little scared. He told his mother, “What if the new class doesn’t like me because I can’t smile?” Timmy’s mother patted him on the back and said, “Remember what I said: A real smile is what you feel.”

It was Timmy’s first day in his new class. Timmy and his mother walked toward the classroom. Timmy saw his new teacher, Miss Kind. Timmy felt very happy to see her, because she was gentle and her eyes sparkled with love. Miss Kind shook Timmy’s hand and said, “It is so lovely to meet you.” Timmy didn’t feel nervous anymore.

Miss Kind told Timmy to sit with Matt. Matt liked Timmy right away. Matt just thought Timmy didn’t like smiling just like him. He really didn’t think that Timmy couldn’t smile. The other children thought Timmy was just like Matt.

Timmy and Matt became good friends. They often played together on the playground. The children at school teased them by saying, “Look at the No Smiles playing together.” This hurt Timmy’s feelings. But Matt didn’t care what they said.

Timmy liked Matt very much, but he always wondered why Matt never smiled. One day Timmy asked him, “Why don’t you smile, Matt?” Matt said proudly, “Because I don’t like to.” Timmy could not understand his answer. Timmy said, “I never met someone who did not like smiling.” Matt then said, “Well, why don’t you smile?” Timmy said, “Because I can’t.” Matt did not understand and said, “You mean you don’t want to.” Timmy repeated his answer, No, because I can’t. My face can’t smile or make any expressions.” Matt was surprised and asked, “How did that happened?” He listened carefully. Timmy said, “Because I was born this way. It is very rare.” Matt said, “How does that make you feel?” Timmy said, “Well, sometimes I feel sad. But my mommy says that my smile is very special because it is what I feel. She said most people really don’t feel their smile.”

Just then something inside Matt clicked. Matt realized what a smile is all about. It is to show how you feel. A smile is to show happiness or love for someone, As Matt thought about what a smile is, he started smiling for the very first time!

Timmy saw Matt smiling and said in amazement, “You’re smiling!” Matt began to like smiling. Matt said to Timmy, “I know what a smile is now.” He patted Timmy on the back as to say thank you.

Matt smiled all the way home and surprised his parents.

One day at school when Matt and Timmy was on the playground, a boy named Will saw Matt smiling. Will said, “Look, Matt is smiling!” Will and some other boys on the playground went over to Matt and said “Matt, we thought you didn’t like smiling?” “I didn’t,” said Matt. “So what changed your mind,” Will said. “Timmy did.” Mat explained, “Timmy can’t smile. He was born without any ability to smile. What if you couldn’t smile at your friends or when you feel happy? Will and the other boys looked at each other and said, “We would feel just awful.” Matt said, “That is why I am never ever going to take my smile for granted anymore.”

Will said to Timmy “How do you smile then?” Timmy said with eagerness “With a hug.” So all the children give Timmy a BIG hug.

The story The Boy Who Never Smiled is to teach children what a smile is and to appreciate it. It also helps to help them to understand that there are people who are not able to smile and how they can smile in different ways. By the end of the story, hopefully children learn that a smile should never ever be taken for granted.

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