With all of the uncertainties in our world lately, there is something that should be apart of every family in every household, laughter. They say that laughter is the best medicine, but I say that laughter is the glue that bends relationships. When you share a laugh with someone, you are sharing a piece of joy with them. If you share a laugh with someone, it is not ever decreased. Instead, it multiplies and spreads like wildfire to everyone around you. Have you ever overheard someone in public say something funny, and you couldn’t help but laugh too? I know I have.
In college, I liked to use laughter as a way to connect. If could make them laugh then I knew that I could develop a friendship with them. It also meant that it could get you out of bad situations. So, freshman year when I kept putting off doing laundry and had to wear a one-piece bathing suit and board shorts to work, my coworkers had a good laugh at it. Even my boss thought it was funny and did not make me leave. It probably helped that we were just stuffing envelopes in a back office.
When I was teaching I used the power of laughter to make students feel comfortable which in turn made them more likely to listen to what I have to teach. I was known for being the silly teacher, but my students’ growth in knowledge proved that laughter was beneficial in my classroom.
One year during our poetry unit I wrote every one of my students a haiku poem, 75 in total. Many of those poems had an inside joke that I had with that student. When I posted all of the poems on my bulletin board, students were bringing their friends into my classroom to show them the poem and tell the story behind it. I loved watching them laugh as they explained why I wrote that one student has Pocahontas in her head.
I have never been afraid to laugh at myself over the years. Many times I would mess up something, and then I would laugh about it. This was something that happened a lot in my classroom. It was crucial for my students to see that I am human and make mistakes too. Many teachers will get angry when a student points out their mistakes. I would always praise the student and then laugh at myself.
I was also known for joking around with my coworkers which made the stress of teaching middle school a lot more bearable. Lunch breaks together were either for venting or laughing. Some days it would start out as venting out problems, and then someone would crack a joke which had the whole room laughing. This instantly eased the nerves of everyone in the room. Then the next class we taught began with a smile.
Now, sometimes the laughter would get me in trouble during staff meetings when I would giggle with coworkers instead of listening to the announcements that could have just been sent in an email. Those moments were needed to create a bond and boost morale. More administrators should recognize the benefits of a good laugh in a staff meeting.
Laughter does not have to just be at work. It should be brought home with you at the end of the day. Sometimes we forget that after a long day at work. Then we miss the opportunities to share a laugh with our families. When I was a working mom, there were many times when I came home frustrated and stressed, but one of my kids would do something silly and I can’t help but laugh. It is like it would snap me back to reality, and I would feel my whole body relax. I hadn’t even realized how much I was tensing my body from stress until I would laugh. It was like it would lift a weight off my body.
I want to make sure that my children have a childhood filled with laughter like I did. I still have jokes with my parents that go back twenty years or more. Like the time that I accidentally pushed my mom into a bush when she was walking me to school because I was trying to move over to let other kids walk past us. To this day my mom teases me that I pushed her in the bush because I was embarrassed by her. Decades later and we are still laughing about something so small. I truly believe that it has made our relationship stronger to laugh at ourselves.
Laughter can improve your life and bring you closer to people. So, the next time something frustrating happens, just have a little laugh. It will make it a little better.