A few nights ago, my 9-year-old daughter Ava discovered what she calls her “mad scientist” laugh. I personally think it sounds a bit more like a witch’s cackle, but she and her three sisters all tell me otherwise.
Do you want to know what happens every time Ava uses this newfound “sound”?
We all end up laughing too. Not at her (okay, maybe just a little bit), but with her (mostly). And, as I’ve witnessed so often in the past, I watch as these deep belly giggles are good not only for us as individuals, but for our family as a whole. Yep, the happy hearts that come from laughing together really are, as Proverbs 17:22 says, “good medicine.”
If your family isn’t having a good belly laugh as often as you’d like, here are three reasons to lighten up and make a regular habit of laughing together.
1. Laughter Unites
Laughter – the kind that’s healthy and not at someone else’s expense – unites people. In my book, Team Us, I quote M.M. Belfie as saying:
Something special happens when people laugh together over something genuinely funny and not hurtful to anyone. It’s like a magic rain that showers down feelings of safety and belonging to a group.
While I’m not sure I’d personally go as far as using the phrase “magic rain,” I’ve noticed that when my girls giggle together or Ted and I have a good laugh, it draws us toward one another. It helps us to let our guards down and, in the process, eases any tension we might be feeling that day.
2. Laughter Creates a Joyful Home
I recently gave Ava and her older sister Olivia this assignment in English: Write a three-paragraph persuasive essay on “Why laughter is important.” It was such fun to read their finished papers, Ava’s complete with a sketches of a bored face and a sad face – both expressions she decided we’d likely wear without laughter.
What I loved most was that both girls pointed to laughter as bringing joy. Olivia wrote that it “brings joy to you, others, and most importantly, God.” A family who laughs together tends to have a more joy-filled home. One where, going back to the Belfie quote, members of the family feel like they belong and are safe to be themselves.
3. Laughter Creates Lasting Memories
Laughter not only creates a shared experience in the moment, but it also creates a memory to recollect and laugh at again in the future. Yep, I can hear it now – 10 years from now – our family will all be giggling as we think back to Ava’s 9-year-old mad-scientist laugh. She’ll blush and giggle too, maybe even imitating the past childish fun for old time’s sake. Ava’s fun that way.
This week, make laughing together as a family a priority in your house. I think you’ll find, as I have, that there’s always time for a good belly laugh with those you love most.