Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Laughter Is Good Medicine

Well, if there is one lesson kids have definitely taught me, it’s not to take yourself too seriously. I mean, kids corner the market on silliness, giggles, and laughs, to be sure. Today is Limerick Day, so named for the birthday of Edward Lear, whose Book of Nonsense, published in 1846, made popular the form of poetry known as the limerick.

A limerick has a bad rap as a naughty poem, but they don’t have to be obscene or edgy to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. All limericks have five lines and follow a pattern (aabba), where the first, second, and fifth lines rhyme with one another, as do the second and third lines. If you are interested, there are some clearly defined rules for limericks for syllables and form. If you’re dying to know, do a quick Internet search and you’ll have more than enough reading material.

Here's my lame attempt:

My kid’s names are Justice, Jewel, Jot
And I love them each one a lot
They’re loud, funny, and cute
And smart, yet, to boot
It’s no wonder my nerves are all shot

Okay, that’s a really bad example, but I never claimed to be a poet.

Did you know the Bible has something to say about humor? Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Doctors have proven that people who laugh and smile recover more quickly than their somber counterparts. Isn’t it amazing when science supports what God’s word has told us for centuries? An interesting thing to note is the verse that comes right before this one. Proverbs 17:21 says, “To have a fool for a son brings grief; there is no joy for the father of a fool.”Ouch!

Something I’ve learned with my kids, especially as they get older and get a better grasp of language and the subtleties of sarcasm, is their tendency to use it as a weapon. Their sarcasm borders on sassiness or their humor comes harrowingly close to being inappropriate. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that God tells us that our greatest sorrow would be a fool for a son (or daughter) right before He tells us that laughter can soothe a weary soul. Part of training up our kids is to teach them proper humor. And the flip side of that is to not allow their attempts at rebellion to be passed off as funny or cute. In the words of Barney Fife, "Nip it! Nip it in the bud!"

I’m going to make sure my kids learn the beauty of laughter. I’m also going to make sure the laughter they seek to disperse consists of “good medicine”, rather than the “bone-drying” properties of hurtful humor from the lips of fools.

Okay, now it's your turn. Anyone want to try their hand at a limerick? Come on, dole out some good medicine for us today!

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