It’s common to get caught up in the serious side of life, and how can we not? It’s a rare day that we don’t encounter somber circumstances of one sort or another. There’s illness, relationship dysfunction and the struggle to make the mortgage payment on the very day when the car’s transmission goes up in smoke.
A friend of mine refers to the normal vicissitudes of life as “The Tales of the Never Ending.” Indeed, it would seem that if we’re not careful, there is almost always something going on that threatens to suck joy out of an otherwise happy situation.
But if you want to live with a lift, it’s important to see the funny side of life, too. Growing up within a dysfunctional family, I’ve always found laughter to be therapeutic. To me, humor is akin to a balm on a burn. It soothes a weary soul. It helps to put things in perspective.
So to help you start out the year with a smile, I want to share a few humorous anecdotes. The stories come from the Focus mailbag. As a parent or grandparent, some of these exchanges will probably sound familiar to you. After all, young children are wonderfully candid creatures, aren’t they?
One night while I was saying grace before a meal, I thanked God for the opportunity to cut my work hours so I could spend more time with the kids. When the prayer was over, my seven-year-old son had a rather worried expression on his face and asked if we were still going to have any “cash.” I told him that we were definitely going to have to be more careful about our spending … but then posed the question, “If given the choice, would you rather have more money or more time with Mommy?” He didn’t miss a beat: “I’ve mostly got my eye on the cash, but I like you, too.”
Then there was this note from Julie, a mother of a six-year-old kiddo who is obviously all-boy:
One day my six-year-old son said, “Mommy, watch this!” (This usually means he’s about to perform a death-defying stunt.) He began to execute his move, then stopped and said, “Oh, make sure and tell me if I get hurt.” I said, “Well, I’m guessing YOU’LL tell ME if you get hurt.” He replied, “Yeah. The crying will be a sign, because this could definitely get bloody.”
As a dad of two boys that sounds just about right!
Celia is a devoted mother who’s been working hard to introduce her seven-year-old son to the Bible. It sounds like her boy is grasping snapshots of Scripture but still trying to grasp the bigger picture:
During a Bible lesson about how God’s children work, one of the discussion questions was, “How can you work for God?” My seven-year-old son answered “Make sacrifices?” I asked, “Well, what kind of sacrifices would you make for Him?” He shrugged and said, “I don’t know. All I’ve got to work with are birds, squirrels and chipmunks.” I paused, attempting to stifle my laughter, and then asked, “So you would sacrifice these animals to God?” He answered (as if it were obvious), “Those are really the only options I have.” Thus began a lesson about how God’s people no longer need to sacrifice animals to the Lord.
I hope those stories gave you a chuckle. If life has gotten you down, I would encourage you to look up. Don’t be afraid to laugh, even through the tears (Proverbs 17:22). My friend, Dr. Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, once reflected that “Your humor has a lot to do with how you regard yourself.” He went on to say that the Christian doctrine of sin “keeps us from being over-awed by anyone (especially ourselves) or shocked by any behavior. We find a lot to laugh at, starting with our own weaknesses.”
He’s right. Especially within imperfect families.
Do you have a funny story about raising children? I’d love to hear it.
“Fast away the old year passes…”
Here’s to a Happy and Blessed New Year!