The Key Role of Laughter in An Effective Family

One of the main things that attracted me to my wife Linda when I first got to know her 48 years ago, was her unique sense of humor, much of it accidental. Just the other day she was chatting with her snowed-in sister Kathy up in Big Bay, MI. Kathy was complaining that her dog was acting strange and staggering around the house like he was drunk. Linda piped up that the dog might be dehydrated. She was watching an episode of The Incredible Doctor Pol and they had a similar case. She told Kathy that they had to give the dog an RV. As her sister roared with laughter, it took a moment until Linda saw the unintended joke.

Linda and Kathy have ofter regaled each other with such jokes. One time they were laughing up a storm in Ikea, when a woman in front of them in line said, “I’m not sure what you are on, but I want some of that.”

Laughter is considered to be good medicine. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” It has been shown that 10 minutes of good, hearty laughter can provide 2 hours of pain-free sleep.* Others have used Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy movies to help encourage healing among their patients.

Or, some of us just have funny families. Some have an abundance of Dad Jokes, for better or worse. I have been blessed to hear of sons and daughters who love those. Keep treasuring these for they do not last forever. In other families, comedic humor and slapstick seem to flow easily. What a blessing to live in that environment.

A key to enjoying one another’s sense of humor is to laugh at ourselves. (or don’t take one’s self too seriously.) Often, humor is created when something funny happens to us or with an unintended slip of the tongue, like Linda’s. What if she had gotten indignant with her sister? “You know what I meant!” she could have said, “Stop laughing at me.” A reaction like that squelches laughter and makes it unsafe to laugh at the puns of life.

If you aren’t a naturally funny family, you might want to watch America’s Funniest Videos. (Of course, that won’t work if you are very empathetic and can’t stand seeing people fall, flip or crash into things.) We like watching some older movies like the original Overboard with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.

Laughing together can help a family get through a rough situation. You know your humor is working when a family member has to rush to the bathroom when one is laughing so hard one is afraid that he/she might wet one’s pants. Even that gives others something to laugh about.

I know your students and I enjoy their humor. I trust that you enjoy this as well at home. Keep laughing and may the joy of the Lord bless your life! Christopher


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