“And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!”
From Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clark Moore
This, of course, was the narrator speaking of the Jolly Elf, Santa Claus, visiting his home on Christmas Eve. This one line of the famous poem, however, applies so well to us all, the dads and husbands that can always use a laugh, even if it’s about ourselves.
1. SET THE TONE
It’s been said many times, and many ways that our kids are a reflection of who we are. Never before has this axiom been more true. If we want them to smile and laugh, we must start the joke. They can read us like books, and their output is their interpretation of us. They will follow our lead, good or bad.
2. BETTER TO GIVE
Lighting up a child’s face is the best gift a parent can receive. So how do we keep our children’s faces lit up, even when they’re cranky and bratty? Simple: keep giving. Give your child a pathway to keep their love light shining. Turn whiny tots into happy kids with some silly faces, or a dance they’ve never seen before. Just as we adults have the natural, but often forgotten ability to change our state of mind, we can show our children how to do the same. It’s the gift that will keep on giving.
3. MAN IN THE MIRROR
Try this: next time you’re at the mirror, smile. Make yourself laugh. Think of something silly. Goofy. Naughty. Watch your eyes light up. See how your body feels, how it’s easier to breathe. It’s a quick adjustment you can make alone, and an instant fast-forward (or rewind) button, depending on where you mind is, to the present moment.
Photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker.