Standing at school assembly last Monday morning the principal began to share a story. I was intently listening and trying to understand to point of the story, when finally I realised the story was actually a joke and there was no point. It was just plain funny.
All too often I concentrate so hard on life and on the situation happening in front of me, that I forget to realise sometimes it's not about a point or something I need to make sense of or sort out. Sometimes all I need to do is smile or even laugh. It is something that you should never ever forget to do. It is something we should never be too busy to do.
The dreaded before school routine
Many parents would be able to identify that there is rarely anything funny or joyful about the dreaded 'morning routine'. I despise (with a passion) making school lunches and having uniforms ready, let alone having notes and diaries signed or madly trying to locate that missing sock. Two of my children seem to require a three-course breakfast, then need to fix the broken Lego and of course must draw a quick picture on the way to get dressed.
The youngest, who is not yet at school, declares he no longer remembers how to dress himself and needs to play a quick piano piece in the nude. Then there's the toothpaste on the uniform as we walk out the front door and not a jumper in sight as we head into a 4 degree morning. Then the dog has stolen one of the shoes and has brought a piece of dead animal to door for inspection needing at least 2 minutes of examination by the clan. Finally we make it into the car only to find one of the chickens has made her way in also….
Maybe I'm the only one in this boat. I want to know how to laugh and have a joyful heart in those times. All I can think of is the teacher giving me an 'F' on the report card for being late too many times. We are in fact rarely late….but the threat of the dreaded late note is too much too bear. I find it hard to even find a smile some days when we are racing against the clock.
Charlie Chaplin once said that "a day without laughter is a day wasted". The morning can set the tone for the rest of the day. If we start the day with a joyful heart surely this will affect the day that follows. Starting the day reading the Word of God and talking to my Heavenly Father is an ideal place to start to find that true joy, when I just simply do not like the whole system of the morning routine.
This doesn't mean we have to walk around laughing our head off and smiling a big Krusty the Clown smile in everyone's face. It may just mean not taking the morning routine so seriously.
The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter (Mark Twain).
â€¢ Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
â€¢ Laughter boosts the immune system. It can decrease stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.
â€¢ Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals, which promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
â€¢ Laughter protects the heart (helpguide.org).
After spending time with people recently who struggle with anxiety and depression it is most wonderful when I see them smiling or laughing. You can see their eyes light up and for a moment the pain in their situation is lifted. While it can be a challenge and sometimes the situation is not a laughing matter, there is a time and a place for us all to be able to simply not take life so seriously.
â€¢ Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can't feel anxious, angry, or sad when you're laughing.
â€¢ Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
â€¢ Humour shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed (helpguide.org).
Hopefully my mornings can be a lot more fun. I am willing to smile at the morning- or at least try. Psalm 126 verse 2 and 3 says, "Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them."
Laura Veloso is wife to John and the mother of 3 young boys. She is trained in child welfare and primary school teaching and has experience in overseas missions and youth leadership.
Laura Veloso's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/laura-veloso.html