“Oh no! Why did it have to snow?” five-year-old Carl said as he looked out the front window. He frowned as he watched the snowflakes fall. “Mom, does that mean our picnic at the park is canceled?”
“Until another day, I guess,” Mom said from the kitchen. “We can’t really have a picnic in the snow.”
“I wish the sun would come out and melt the snow,” Carl said.
Carl’s frown got bigger when his little brother came into the room holding Carl’s favorite toy car.
“That’s my car, Jared!” Carl said as he grabbed the toy.
Jared started to cry. Carl felt his stomach turn into a knot, and he frowned even more.
He walked into the kitchen, taking his car with him. “Not oatmeal again, Mom. Can’t we have pancakes instead?”
“Not today, Carl. Dad has to hurry or he’ll be late for work,” Mom said.
Carl sat down. His frown sank deeper and deeper.
“Where’s my happy lunch maker?” Dad asked as he walked into the room.
Carl looked up at Dad and frowned.
Dad started singing, “If you chance to meet a frown, do not let it stay. Quickly turn it upside down and smile that frown away.” *
All of a sudden, Carl felt Dad’s strong arms lift him off the chair and gently turn him upside down. Carl felt his frown melt away as he looked at Dad’s upside-down smiling face. He started smiling, and then laughed. Dad started laughing too, and then Mom and Jared did. Before long the whole family was laughing.
“Let’s turn the day right side up again. OK, everybody?” Dad sat Carl back down in the chair.
“OK, Dad,” Carl said.
Dad went to finish getting ready for work. Carl hurried and got an apple and carrots and put them in Dad’s lunch bag. Then he found another toy car in his room and gave it to Jared. He quickly set the table for breakfast and then sat down with a big smile on his face.
Just then Dad walked back into the kitchen. “Looks like everything is right side up again!” he said.
“Mom, can we have a picnic for lunch today inside the house?” Carl asked.
Mom smiled. “Sure. Just as long as we don’t have to eat upside down!”
“Happiness does not depend on what happens outside of you but on what happens inside of you; it is measured by the spirit with which you meet the problems of life.”
President Harold B. Lee (1899–1973), “A Sure Trumpet Sound: Quotations from President Lee,” Ensign, Feb. 1974, 78.
Illustrations by Bryan Beach