Loved this! Has a child ever stumped you with a great question?
9) Humor Fosters Good Relations and Builds Community
Humor and community are intimately linked. In an intuitive way, we get the feeling that jokes are enjoyed only in the company of friends. We tell them at school, at work, and at home. They demonstrate intimacy trust, and sense or togetherness among those those who tell jokes and listen to them. Thus, one of the important elements of humor is the intimate connection it fosters among the members of a community. Through jokes we also show our affection for the people who are most important in our lives. By joking with people we are, in effect, taking care of them and simultaneously telling them that we love them. And in inviting more people to share the same joke, our community expands and becomes more open to the presence of others.
Jokes can affirm a group's identity and, at the same time, make that community far richer. Yet the important of humor extends farther. Jokes and humor may also be viewed as evidence of the changes that occur in the community over time. They point to a shared history, a common past that consists of a litany of dangers, trials, and occasional bouts of real suffering and genuine hardship. Humor does more than "take the edge off" these rough times. It literally reverses the sentiment of despair into its opposite: hope. Humor performs the Janus task of looking backwards and forwards at the same time. It recalls the past, and it sets it squarely before us. Humor, the language of hope and joy, turns our eyes more resolutely toward the future. By telling a joke, we affirm that our relationships are vitally healthy and ongoing, and thus open to change, to development, to continual deepening - in short, jokes open our lives and our communities to God.
10) Humor Opens Our Minds
Laughing releases endorphins, which helps us to relax. When we relax and feel less threatened, we more able to listen and to lear. By relaxing listeners, laughters can help get a message across. And, it may help us think more broadly or creatively. It may even give us spiritual insight like in the following story.
A pastor is giving spiritual direction to an older man who was practical, hardworking, and efficient. He was getting older, and he was becoming frustrated. As aging slowed him down, he felt less "productive." A big part of the problem, both in prayer and daily life, was an overemphasis on "results."
The pastor asked the older man to pray using the image of Jesus as a young man between the ages of twelve and thirty, before he started his public ministry. During those years, as far as is know, Jesus was not preaching or performing miracles. He was simply working in a carpentry shop, plying his trade and living a simple life.
At one point, as the older man imagined watching Jesus working in his carpentry shop, he found himself saying to Jesus, "Why don't you start healing people now? You're wasting all this time! You're not very efficient!"
When he recounted this to the pastor, the pastor said, "You told Jesus that he wasn't productive?" The older man smiled and began to laugh. That moment let him relax, pray in a more relaxed way and led him to see himself and others as a "human being" not a "human doing."
Laughter can be a sign of being freed from old ways of thinking, from being bound to old habits. It was a sign of God's liberation.