IN TODAY'S SESSION...
Today's Toolbox of Faith topic is humor and the Tool of the Day is sandpaper. The sandpaper symbolizes humor, a tool which smoothes the rough edges of life. In this session, participants engaged in and reflected on humor and laughter, and examined their place in helping us survive and enjoy the life we are given. We emphasized that humor can be an affirmation of life and a source of inner spiritual strength that helps us connect to others and look honestly at ourselves.
We explored humor to illustrate that:
- Unitarian Universalism is a faith that will help you be affirmed in life and connected to all beings through laughter
- Unitarian Universalism values respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part (seventh Principle)
- Unitarian Universalism affirms the direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life. (first Source).
The children examined the difference between humor that is cruel — such as jokes based on stereotypes — and humor that opens us up to healing laughter. We emphasized that humor can heal when we laugh with others, and can harm when we laugh at others.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about...
Can you think of times when you have encountered humor as an affirmation of life, or to teach or learn a lesson? Can you share an example? Have you experienced humor that is cruel? What happened?
What do you think about humor as a religious tool? Have you ever experienced humor in this way?
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try...
Share laughter and humor in as many ways as you can together, by playing silly games, making faces, reading humorous stories out loud, and enjoying humorous family anecdotes. If you notice a moment when you are using humor to soften some pain in life — even a small hurt or disappointment — point this out to your child.
Find out if there is a Laughter Club in your area and join in for a session. For information and a directory of local Laughter Clubs, visit the Dr. Kataria School of Laughter Yoga website. On the website, find some laughter exercises.
Go together to the Scholastic Books website and use Dav Pilkey's Name Change-O-Chart to make silly names for each person in your family. Your family might enjoy reading together Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic/Blue Sky Press, 2000) or others in the Captain Underpants series.
A FAMILY RITUAL
For a week, invite each family member to share a "joke of the day" at breakfast or at dinner.