I thought of something this morning while drinking my new healthy tea and eating my more healthy chocolate chip cookie. So? you may think. She always says she thinks about something while enjoying her morning beverage and sweet. Well, the thing this morning is that I wondered if everyone “gets” what I write since so much of it is tongue in cheek and may require that you see me wink or put an elbow in your ribs.

I grew up in a family that teased and told jokes a lot. My mom was funny without really meaning to be. My godmother was a huge tease (not mean). My dad brought home jokes all the time from the place where he worked. Many were X-rated. My grandpa lived with us and he loved a good joke, too.

I’ve carried out the joking tradition to the point that when my son was in nursery school, the teacher told me that he got along very well with the other children except that his sense of humor was so sophisticated, the other kids often didn’t get it.

Humor is a really general term. All kinds of activities and moods fall under that word, but to me it is when something is funny or at least amusing. Getting to that place can involve something that might seem mean–like a person falling. See how complicated it is? It’s one thing to see someone fall when they intend to amuse and quite another when someone falls by accident. If she gets up and winks, you can feel free to laugh.

Humor usually involves exaggeration. Think about things that amuse you. Aren’t they usually over the top? My grandpa used to drop out his false teeth in front of my boyfriends. It was very embarrassing to me, but also “cracked us up.”

Humor can make you hysterical or you may just smile. The great thing about humor is that it makes us feel better. It’s not only fun to laugh; it is a healthy activity. (I’ve already done a blog about laughter being the best medicine.)

I try to use humor a lot when working with the young children in my reading program. Early on, I realized that children need to be exposed to humor as much as to any other subject that helps them live happily in this world. They do understand their own kind of humor, which sometimes baffles me. Farting, of course, is a sure hysterical moment. Someone wrote a children’s book about a farting dog. I think it made the New York Times bestseller list once. Anyway, I love hearing laughter in my classroom.

Okay, so I got a little serious today about being funny. Then how’s this for a sign off–remember the one about the three old guys in a bar who…..

COMING NEXT: On Becoming Cranky


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