One of the really good reasons why we as dads need our children is to keep us laughing. Adults laugh an average of 17 times per day, our children laugh about 400 times a day. Laughter is infectious, which is why TV sitcoms have a laugh track.
Laughter is so contagious; it can even reach epidemic proportions. In 1962, in the African country known as Tanzania, a few schoolgirls began to laugh uncontrollably. Their laughter soon spread to people in neighbouring communities. Schools were closed to keep others from catching the laugh bug. The epidemic subsided after six months.
Laughter increases energy levels. Feeling tired or run down? Have a good laugh. Laughter is a natural pick-me-up, which may provide the energy and time needed to do things that might otherwise be avoided.
Laughter helps us bond with others. Ever heard the expression “Laugh and the world laughs with you?” Research shows that when we laugh, we tend to talk more, make more eye contact and do more of the things that help us connect with others. Laughter also lessens tension. It’s hard to feel angry, tense or anxious when you’re laughing.
Laughter is good exercise. Laughing 100 times has the same effect on the body as being on a rowing machine for 10 minutes or a stationary bike for 15 minutes.
Laughter isn’t just about jokes and funny stories. One researcher eavesdropped on conversations in malls, noting why and how often people laughed. Less than 20% of the laughter followed a joke or humorous story. Most laughter took place as people were greeting one other or saying goodbye.
Laughter sounds the same across cultures, leading some researchers to believe that laughter helped bond our ancestors together. In fact, the sound of laughter is so common and familiar; it can be recognized if played backwards on tape.
Have you noticed just how much babies laugh and how much they respond to laughter? Laughter is a wonderful way for you and your family to bond closer together. I believe the role of the father is to be a leader. Good leadership is all about becoming a better servant.
Can I propose that it is your job as the family laugh leader to inspire laughter in your family? Yes, I know, you are providing for them, and I know that is serious business, but as a father you have many roles.
One of these is to become the laugh leader for your family and create an atmosphere of love and laughter for your children.
Whilst formulating the curriculum content for our ‘Good to Great mentoring Course for the 21st Century’ I had some long talks with Brigadier Jim Wallace, previous Commander-in-Chief of the SAS. I asked him to tell me the characteristics of leadership in the SAS.
He told me that every soldier is a leader in the SAS. Each successful recruit is recognised as some of the best in their field in the world. One of the most vital things that are looked for in SAS recruits is a sense of humour. If they cannot laugh they cannot be in the SAS.
Laughter and a sense of humour is a key to survival in tough situations.
You have the key to success as a father in your grasp. It’s tied up in your ability to laugh and your ability to get others to laugh with you.
This week have a family dinner and get everyone to tell their favourite joke. The laughter section has some children’s knock knock jokes. More at:
If your children are too young, tickle them or get them to laugh with you. Check out our laughter section in this newsletter and tell everyone the jokes. Become the laugh leader for your children and family. Give them a legacy of laughter that they will remember forever. I can assure you, it won’t be a burden.
Yours for more laughter