Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Second Way Your Family Can Draw Together - Laugh Together

My five month old granddaughter has the best laugh! When we find something that can get her laughing everyone loves it. The other day it was just saying, "Ma-ma-ma-ma!" Sometimes it's a game of peek-a-boo or little tickles. But I tell you, we adults will do some crazy things to make that adorable little one laugh out loud! And we all love it when she does.

Laughing together draws peoples close to each other. It releases stress, relaxes you, and improves your mood. When people laugh together they are bonded over something special between them. You can create opportunities to laugh, but the best way to laugh is to be willing to laugh at life and yourself.

When I was 19 I went on a missions trip in France, our carload got slowed down by the Tour de France crossing the town we needed to get through. By the time we got on our way again, it grew dark and late and our driver was tired. He decided we should pull over into a field. The other girl, who was from England, and I would share a tent and the two guys would sleep out in the open. The two French guys had blankets or something but Chrystella and I only had my sleeping bag and sheet. We put the sheet under us and the open sleeping bag on top of us. 

Chrystella and I had only met each other that day, and here we were sharing a sleeping bag! We talked for a few minutes trying to overcome the awkwardness of the whole situation when the team leader said in his thickly accented English, "Seestairs, Eet ees time to slip." Suddenly we got the giggles.

Maybe you had to be there...but the next three weeks, Chrystella and I were fast friends and we kept in touch for years after that while she married a Swiss man and went to Nepal as a missionary and I married an American raised in South Africa and lived in Peru and Colombia as a missionary. We had our faith in common, but not a lot else, except that night when we had laughed together in a tent in an empty field somewhere in France.

I have come to believe that there are (at least) five ways you can draw closer to people and families can become closer to each other. I'm talking about the second in this post. Read the first one here and come back to read about one in each of the next three posts. They are 

  • Be Together
  • Laugh Together
  • Pray Together
  • Work Together
  • Cry Together

2. Laugh Together -- How can you set up laughter in your family? Here are some ideas to get you going. 

  • Laugh at Yourself--Maybe, like me, you aren't someone who guffaws easily, but let's work on seeing the funny side of life and not taking ourselves so seriously, it will make us more enjoyable to be around and draw us closer to those we laugh with. We don't want to laugh at people, but we should invite them to laugh at our foibles. I think that is one of the things that draws people, young and old, to my husband.
  • Tickling and Rough Housing--This is especially good with little ones. My grandkids love it when Daddy or Grandpa gets on the floor and plays with them by giving them rides, "wrestling," or just tickling. And it takes one sour person to not laugh when a child is laughing! 
  • Tummy Time--From time to time on family nights we would have our whole family lie in a circle, each one with their head on another person's tummy. Then one person would start making laughing sounds. As the next person's head started bouncing up and down they would start laughing for real, which in turn bounced someone else's head. It didn't take long for the laughter to become contagious and everyone was burning calories and sending endorphins through their bodies!
  • Act Out of Character--If you do something fun that is totally out of character, especially if you are usually a serious person, you will get your family laughing. Maybe you could come to the table dressed in a funny outfit and wig and have a strange accent and pretend that you are Nahid from Nigeria or something. Tell wild stories about the things you've experiences, the more outlandish the better. You can bet the chuckles will come.
  • Jokes--I once sent out an invitation to a get together that read on the outside, "What happened to the butcher who backed into the meat grinder?" Inside it said, "He got a little behind in his work." Then I asked the people to come to a "Groaner Joke Night" at our house. I promised refreshments and plenty of groans and laughs. They came with their jokes and we had a hooting time!
  • Funny Games--One of our favorite things to do was play charades with our kids. The best part is when someone starts getting answers that are no where near what they are trying to portray and they get the giggles. Pretty soon no one can talk as they dissolve into laughter. Here's another game that got me laughing so hard I cried.
  • Do a Phunny Phamily Photo Shoot--In the first two pictures in this post, we wanted to get some family pictures, but we had a little tension going on. As we walked toward the camera I said, "On the count of three, everyone jump!" We did it and felt so silly that our laughter over came the situation. Try getting fun props to use. One of our ways to get a good mood going was to tell everyone to do their "album cover" photo. Each person would pose as they've seen on an album cover and, "click." The result could be hysterical, especially when Grandma and Grandpa or Mom and Dad didn't realize what was happening and sat stiffly smiling at the camera!
  • Words--Words can be very silly. Get a book of tongue twisters and try to read them outloud. Ask silly questions like: If we all lived in a zoo, what animals would we be?
  • Just Laugh--see what I mean here.

When you share joy with someone it multiplies the joy and provides a common bond that gives your relationship an extra dimension which will draw you closer. Find a reason to laugh today and then tell someone about it so you can laugh together.

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How does your family get laughing?
Tell me in the comments below or
Maybe I'll share your idea with my readers!

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Be sure to check out the whole series on how to draw your family closer!

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Can't wait to read Around the Table: Connecting With Your Family at MealtimesDid you know it is available on Kindle?

You can get a copy today for only $4.75!

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  1. That's one of the best things about being with the grandkids. They ALWAYS make me laugh.

  2. I love this! You are SO right; if we can laugh together, we can overcome anything! My family and I always try to find the humor in most situations. It can really help us remember what the important things in life really are. Thank you for a great post.

    1. Good for you. There's a lot less stress if you laugh instead of shout!



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