When I was 11 years old I went to Yellowstone National Park with my father on a father and son’s trip with our church. The most memorable experience occurred when the bus driver stopped at the side of the road so we could take a picture of a mother bear and her cub resting a short distance up the hill. Most of us got out of the bus and walked towards them.
This was a serious mistake.
When we got too close, she became uncomfortable and charged us. We started running back to the bus, but I had a problem. I was the smallest and slowest, so the momma bear decided to make an example of me.
I was running for my life, but before reaching the bus, I tripped and the mad Yellowstone Momma was on top of me, licking her lips and baring her teeth. I knew she was planning to eat me for lunch. While preparing to meet my maker I thought I heard my mother whisper, “Say a prayer.” I only had time to offer a short one so I prayed that the bear would be a Christian. After my prayer, I carefully opened my eyes and noticed she had her paws folded, and I heard her pray, “Please, Lord, bless this food which I am about to eat!”
While it’s true that a momma bear chased me on that trip and I was the last one to the bus, I obviously made up the ending. Why would I do that, other than to get some laughs?
Because this story is a reminder that humor is important in our lives, as well as our children's lives. Humor helps to break tension and puts life in perspective. When we use a little well-timed humor, our children can relax around us, and we can all enjoy the special moment.
As mentioned in the book Anne and I co-authored, “Humor is truly a basic human quality and is routinely listed as one of the most vital resiliency skills.”
Humor is also contagious and can break the tension caused by an argument, disagreement, or misunderstanding. Humor helps us open our hearts, let down our defenses, and become more connected. It allows us as families to transform moments into positive, even extraordinary memories.
We offer you a challenge during this time when we are sheltering in place in our homes and spending more time than usual together. When your child is upset or maybe when you find yourself a bit frustrated, surprise your family by doing something they probably won’t be expecting – find the humor in the experience and turn a potentially negative moment into a positive one.
Here’s to failing forward using humor with our children.
Cal and Anne
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