bits from bob....

Say "Sandia!"

by Robert J. Young
©, 2002, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

In my experience, most Latin Americans like having their picture taken. My files are filled with pictures of shy children and smiling children, Christians in many countries, friends and acquaintances, and students I have taught.

In Latin America as in the U.S., we encourage smiles when we snap the photo. Smiles not only brighten the picture, smiling makes us feel better. I read recently of some researchers who found that saying "cheese" promotes smiling which in turn creates pleasant feelings. I am amazed that "cheese" is also the word of choice in much of Latin America. In Latin America, I hear the phrase repeatedly, say "cheese."

I suppose I am just enough of a rebel to think that we should use a Spanish word in a Spanish speaking country. Since it is the long "e" sound that promotes the smile, I say "sandia." I suppose there are potential problems--what if a person doesn't like watermelon? But then, what if a person doesn't like cheese?

People say I smile a lot. One brother said, "You are the only person I know who can sing and smile at the same time!" I say smiling is responsible for my crow's feet between my eyes and temples. I am sure they are not the result of growing older!
I think I smile a lot because of Who I know! A genuine, lasting smile does not come from saying "cheese" or "sandia." A lasting smile comes from an internal peace and gladness. Smiles work best when they let the inside alter the outside, rather than the reverse.

Look up to God! Remember the blessings of Christ! Celebrate the presence of God's Spirit! Be happy!

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Last updated June 6, 2002.