shared laughter

The Parenting Place held their Blue Ribbon Ball on Saturday evening. A good time was had by all.  Adding to the festivities was Mike Scott, storyteller and humorist, who entertained the guests with great stories and some reflections of his own personal (and often hilarious) experiences as a stay-at-home dad for ten years.  One memory he shared, though, about his own childhood has continued to resonate with me.

Mike said he remembers weekend mornings during his youth when he and his dad would go down to their basement and watch the Bugs Bunny show together.  Mike’s dad loved Bugs Bunny as much as Mike did and so they would share their laughing – together.  Mike has never forgotten what a special gift this was to have these riotous, but at the same time intimate moments with his dad.

Now in many of  his own stories, he purposely incorporates elements that all can enjoy at different levels  – the funny voices that will make any child crack up and any adult recognize – and join in shared laughter.

Shared family laughter is probably more rare than not.  As parents, we are often so busy with the day-to-day chores and expectations, that funny moments are not usually on the list.  Taking the time to think about how we can add more laughter into our lives will change our family dynamics to a definite positive.

Playing board games and  card games usually  generates laughter – along with active outdoor backyard games, playing in a pool,  batting around an inflated balloon, telling knock-knock jokes, reading a funny book together or watching a comical TV show as Mike and his dad did.

Even more important is to find the humor in those moments that seem anything but funny.  You know the kind of day I mean.  So when the cake that was supposed to be dessert at Grandma’s house that afternoon, slips off the cake plate onto the floor- how much better to give in to laughter.  That would be one memory that would conjure up laughter for many years to come.

Parenting is serious business but should never be without humor.  Often we can evade what might have turned into a “situation” by turning it around to comic relief.  Two children arguing whose ball it is.  What to do?  Grab it and run and you have two children after you, laughing and chasing and the “situation” is avoided and the good endorphins have kicked in.

So give it a try.  Take a careful look at the mood of your family and go for a dose of shared laughter.  After all, they say, laughter is the best medicine.

Thanks, Mike, for making us laugh – together.

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