There is nothing like the sound of laughter to brighten any day! Whether it is the sounds of old friends sharing a familiar story, the belly laugh of a baby or the innocent giggle of a stifled laugh at an inappropriate time, laughing can cleanse the soul! There are many a day when a “laugh until you cry” moment can be comedic relief needed to turn a tense, ugly moment in a new direction. Many, many quotes have been attributed to the importance of laughter:
You have as much laughter as you have faith. (Martin Luther)
The human race has only one effective weapon, and that is laughter. (Mark Twain)
Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. (Victor Borge)
At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities. (Jean Houston)
Laughing is healing, cleansing, even transforming. I think about the many times my daughter wants me to tell her a story about my childhood. She absolutely loves to hear the stories of my life as a little girl. She doesn’t want to hear the boring stories that validate Mom was a smart, studious and responsible child that grew into the same. No, she wants to hear about all the times I did stupid, silly things. She wants to experience the awkwardness of my adolescence and challenges into maturity.
She loves to hear me tell (and retell!) about the time I stepped on the cat’s tail and sent a tub of butter careening all over the kitchen. The time my sister and I “stole” my brother’s prized Clue game and then I proceeded to spill my Kool-Aid on it. She loves even more that my sister made me wipe it up with my hair in her moment of self-prescribed authority…and then a neighbor had to be called since neither of us knew how to wash our hair by ourselves yet!
She bursts in side-splitting laughter over the time I confused the word tentacles, in describing my intended Martian Halloween costume, with a similar sounding word describing a male appendage. Repeating my horror, at having to look up the word in the dictionary for my mother and confirm it was what I really wanted to wear to school, puts her on the floor in a fit of tearful laughter. Can you imagine what that costume would have looked like? I shudder at the thought even now!
My daughter is at such a precious age, vacillating between a child and teasing elements of pre-teen characteristics into her blossoming personality. Life is a scary time for her right now. She sees her parents as these perfect (hardly!), accomplished people who have it all together and know absolutely everything! She needs to know we were awkward and silly once too. That we did irresponsible, crazy and embarrassing things that we can now look back on and laugh about. That we survived the ridicule, the teasing and the horrible awkwardness that is a core ingredient for growing up.
Take time to set aside the have-it-all-put-together image you might be portraying to those who have you on a pedestal and give them The Gift of Laughter. Let them see and share in the not-so-perfect side of you. Let them laugh with you, learn from your struggles and have some fun reliving those not so elegant moments in your life.
It will give them a much-needed dose of hope and encouragement that their future ahead is as bright and beautiful as the person they so admire…you!