Today I began the 21 Day Dad’s Challenge. Carey Casey talked about the value of being funny with our kids, sharing jokes and good humor with them, and even being silly to the point of embarrassment with them. The challenge was to find something my kids find funny and share in it with them.
I asked my boys to go to the book shelf and each pick out one book they found especially funny. My Elder Son pulled down a book called Born Yesterday: the Diary of a Young Journalist. The Younger Son grabbed Dooby Dooby Moo (which I think we got for free from Chick-fil-a in a kids meal). Even though they’ve both read these two books probably a few dozen times, when I read them to the boys they just laughed and laughed. Big bursting belly laughs. I don’t know if it was because they expected them to be funny, or if it was just that they really liked that I was asking them to share something funny. Either way, they loved it.
Then I queued up a couple funny Youtube videos that I knew they would like and we watched them together, laughing at the “How it Should Have Ended – Man of Steel” and Batman’s “I’m rich Batman!”, and at a video of the fish vendors in Pike’s Place Market (Seattle) throwing the fish around.
A little bit later in the night Elder Son was having some stress. His video game had hit a glitch, and the time he spent on it was “wasted” (that is, he would have to replay the level). He was upset and wanted to do something else screen related to recover the time. I told him he needed to get ready for bed. He was not happy. But it only took a couple comments about rich Batman and a couple references to the Born Yesterday book to get him laughing all over again, and a few minutes later they were ready for bed and in their room and I was up there with them showing them a card trick.
Humor is powerful. We think of it as entertainment, but it can be so much more. It forms bonds and gives people something to refer to, and it overcomes sadness and frustration. I think it really is a blessing from God, and an essential part of father-child interaction.
The 21 Day Dad’s Challenge is a book edited by Carey Casey, published by Focus on the Family. It contains 21 days worth of Biblical motivations for dads, including a challenge each day intended to help dads grow their relationships with their kids.