Children get dozens if not hundreds of daily laughs from “plain old ordinary” life; most adults manage fewer than two dozen laughs a day. Maybe losing one’s sense of humor is a sign of growing old in the worst way. At any rate, people who laugh regularly have fewer aches and pains, depression issues, and other classic “old grouch” problems.
If you’re in the habit of trying to stifle your own children’s laughter (“Don’t be so silly/noisy/distracting/inattentive”), maybe it’s time to consider what “being serious” could do to their future health—and yours. Maybe it’s time to take a break from your own concerns, join the kids in a good laugh, and see your “worries” in better perspective when you look at them again. Regular “laugh breaks” might even make you a more effective problem solver.
A Few Tips
- Give your kids open permission to share a good joke anytime.
- Reserve a regular family night to read a joke book or comic-strip collection together, or to watch a good comedy video.
- Let your children bring friends home (in the flesh or virtually) to get more childlike laughter into your household. Allow yourself to “catch it” from the kids.
- Don’t always wrinkle your nose at the wackier jokes. Everything in life doesn’t have to make sense or serve a practical purpose, and insisting on that only adds unnecessary stress to life.
- Do remember that cruelty, bigotry, and obscenity aren’t funny. Admittedly, it’s not always easy to tell where the line is (especially where different cultures and worldviews are involved), so practice empathy along with laughter—associate with people of all backgrounds to learn open-mindedly how they think, and stop immediately whenever you sense someone’s feelings are being hurt. (It’s not your job to reform anyone you might consider “too sensitive,” and it’ll do nothing to improve their desire to laugh.)
- Learn a lesson from children about not taking things too personally; be a good sport when everyone laughs after you do or say something hilariously naïve.
A Few Jokes
Q: Why do sharks live in salt water?
A: Pepper would make them sneeze.
Q: Why can’t cows dance?
A: Because they have two left feet!
Q: Why did the cow jump over the moon?
A: The milking machine short-circuited.
TV commercial announcer: When you make this doll lie down, it closes its eyes and goes right to sleep, just like a real baby.
Little girl who is also big sister: They don’t know much about babies, do they?
Grumpy grandfather: If you keep being so silly, Santa will put nothing but coal in your stocking.
Little boy: Then can we have a cookout for Christmas dinner?
Little boy at bedtime: What’s making that tooting noise outside?
Dad: That’s just an owl. They’re nocturnal.
Little boy: I know it’s not a turtle!
Mother pointing to photograph of herself at age seven: Do you know who this is, honey?
Three-year-old daughter: That’s me when I get bigger!
Blessings to parents and children of all ages!