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September 10, 2015

TBT: Laughing at Ourselves

Hal photo outside Feb2012The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself.” (James Thurber, American Humorist)

Thurber alludes to a truth about human nature: It is easy to make fun of others, but it is more productive to make fun of yourself. I actually learned this lesson from my daughter not too long ago. She and Brandon were arguing in the other room and I was working very hard to let them settle things without my intervention. Brandon was trying to get Hannah to see his point and she was stubbornly refusing to do so.

After about 5 minutes of not getting anywhere, he said with a sneer, “Hannah! How can you not see this? How stupid can you get?!?!” As I jumped out of my seat to correct him and come to her defense,  she replied with a knowing grin and a mischievous look in her eye, “I don’t think you want to test me, I can be pretty stupid.”

They both dissolved in a heap on the floor laughing both at her admission and at his blustering ways. Humor has the uncanny ability to diffuse tense situations – but be sure that the target of this humor is a safe one – yourself.

There is tremendous value in having a sense of humor about your own parenting. I think that you’ll find that being able to laugh at yourself doesn’t make you seem foolish, it makes you seem real. Your children will learn more from you than you ever thought possible because you’ll be showing them firsthand how to roll with the punches and pick yourself up without beating yourself down.

Now, about him calling her stupid…

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