Everything that morning went wrong. My wife and I were still in our pre-kids journey and I had spent the morning at the office. It’s funny, I don’t remember anything specific that went wrong at the office, I just remember that a lot went wrong. I had come home for lunch and was whining to Kellie about how terrible my life was because nothing seemed to be going right. Break out the streamers and balloons because Kenny is having a pity party.
I finished complaining, ate lunch and was heading back to the office. As I walked out the back door to get into my car, a bird pooped on my head. And it was a big one.
“No stinkin’ way!” Instantly all of the pity party questions came roaring back…why have I been dealt such a bad hand in life? Why is life so unfair? Why can’t I catch a break? I’m changing my name to Job.
And then a funny thing happened. Like a brick hitting me upside the head. There was something divine about the fact that…a bird…had just pooped…on my head.
All I could do was laugh. And it’s amazing what a little laughter can do. All of a sudden, everything was not so bad. I’ve often wondered whether or not God was responsible for the bird poop. It sure worked.
The importance of laughter in your family.
Years ago there was a man who was connected to the student ministry that I was leading. He also had a son who was in the ministry. I began noticing that he was always doing things to make his son laugh, just messing with him–a lot.
I started thinking about this man’s entire family. His kids, who were teenagers at the time, were awesome. They loved their mom and dad and did not let the influence of their friends override all that their parents had taught them. I wondered if laughter was a key.
The observations were eye-opening.
So to test my theory, I started observing families in which the dad laughed a lot with his children. Every single time there was a dad who laughed regularly with his kids, those kids were turning out awesome. If a dad was stoic, business-like, or hard-nosed, sometimes those kids would turn out great and sometimes they would not. If a mom regularly laughed with her kids, sometimes those kids would turn out great, and sometimes they would not. But every single time there was a laughing dad, the kids were fantastic. Obviously there are other factors that play into this, but laughter was definitely a common denominator.
So does that mean that parents need to quit their day jobs and practice their stand-up? Obviously not. You do not have to be a comedian to make your kids laugh.
My wife is not a comedian. However, she can make my grown children laugh like no other. You know, that kind of laughter where your mouth is wide open but there is no noise coming out. The kind of laughter where you throw your head back, cry and can’t breathe all at the same time.
What’s her secret? Two things: she’s learned the power of laughing at herself and the power of catching our kids off guard. She tells the most lame knock-knock jokes that have ever been uttered. She just makes them up and then after delivering the punch line, she gets tickled because she believes it is the funniest thing ever. And then our kids start laughing at her laughing at her own joke. A true indication that she is not a comedian.
Last weekend she was in the front yard with our kids attempting to do handstands. My wife cannot do a handstand. Have you ever watched someone who can’t do a handstand attempt to do one? It’s funny on many different levels. Why is she doing this? She loves her children. And she loves to laugh with them.
Laughter needs to be normal.