Boy Who Lost Both of His Parents Is Teaching the World How to 'Smile' Through Grief

 A little boy recently orphaned after losing his mother is teaching the world a lesson in finding a way to cope through the worst grief imaginable: 6-year old Jaden Hayes has decided to "collect smiles" as a way to work through the process of losing both of his parents while still a very young child. There are adults who can't find the rainbow after that kind of storm, so we are in total awe of the idea this little boy had to start the healing process.


Jaden lost his father two years ago, and earlier this month, his mother tragically passed away in her sleep (her cause of death is not known at this time). While everyone close to his family was saddened by this awful news, Jaden told his aunt he was tired of seeing "craggy" faces and instead wanted people to smile even though they were grieving. Check out this video to learn more about his uplifting story:

With the kind help of his cousin Natasha Compton, Jaden now walks around the streets of Savannah, Georgia, equipped with bead necklaces and toy dinosaurs to hand out to strangers, in the hopes of "collecting" a smile. He also his tiny rubber ducks, which he saves to give out to little kids. Compton, who has helped document Jaden's idea via Instagram, was quoted as saying that he started with a goal of 500 smiles and that he's already reached 300, not counting the ones pouring in from the Internet. She goes on to say that she knows this process is helping Jaden grieve, and also helping those close to him as they all work through this terribly sad loss.

As adults, we know how daunting it is to face the loss of a very close family member, let alone a parent. Pulling yourself out of your grief and finding reasons to smile again may require a concentrated effort and could take a long time. Seeing this little boy, fresh from such a profound loss but still wanting to see something good in the world, is nothing short of inspiring. In wanting to focus on putting smiles on people's faces, he isn't getting mired down in his grief. What he is doing is so simple, but so deeply affecting for those he meets and, no question, for himself. It's such a simple concept -- wanting to see smiles instead of frowns during a period of intense sadness -- but it's having such a positive affect on his family. This little boy's wisdom is admirable and we should all strive to think the way he does when dealing with life's worst obstacles.

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As a parent, I would be so proud if my children thought of something like this. It shows that Jaden was raised lovingly by his mom and dad until the time of their passing and we have no doubt they would be bursting with pride at the idea their little boy is putting into action. We are so sorry for his sad loss and we wish him all the best as he moves through life without his parents but hopefully surrounded by plenty of smiles.

If you would like to share a smile for Jaden, you can use the hashtag #TheSmileExperiment. His cousin is showing him the photos on social media so he will see them.


Image via 7 NEWS - The Denver Channel / YouTube

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