One day many years ago my husband came home from work growling like the proverbial bear and ornery as a napless two-year-old. My response was to stay clear of him. Carefully I prepared dinner making sure I didn’t cross his path. But my girls were wiser.
Breana was 12 at the time and she and the other girls were setting the table. I didn’t pay much attention to what they were doing until dinner was ready and I went to call Carl to eat. As I passed the table I noticed that Breana had placed a cereal bowl on her dad’s plate that was overflowing with sugar.
Gingerly, I told Carl dinner was ready and then waited to see what was going on. The girls busied themselves around the kitchen trying to look like they weren’t waiting, smirks of suppressed laughter on their faces.
Finally Carl came in, walked to his spot at the table, saw the bowl, and gruffly asked, “What’s this for?”
Breana, sobered now as she wondered how he would take it, said meekly, “We thought if you ate that you’d be a little sweeter.”
Carl broke out laughing. The girls giggled until tears trickled out their eyes and we all enjoyed a pleasant dinner. In an instant all the negative tension was dispelled.
When used correctly, humor is a powerful tool. That day the girls reminded me that I should use it more. If we are just a little creative, it is amazing the good that can be accomplished with humor.
When the kids were growing up, we had a family rule. You can argue and fight all you want–as long as you sing it. The girls didn’t always remember, but when they did it was amazing. I’d suddenly hear an operatic soprano down the hall singing, “You wore my shirt and you didn’t wash it!” And then all over the house laughter. Other times, they’d start to argue and instead of coming in with negative reprimands myself, I’d just say, “Sing it! Sing it!” They’d try, but it always ended up that the humor erased the argument. We discovered that you can’t be angry and sing. It’s impossible!
It’s an old saying, but so true, laughter is medicine–medicine for the soul.
He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.