Suzie Daggett: Let go, and laugh!
August 13, 2018
Years ago, my then pre-teen daughter graced me with these words: "If you don't laugh you'll have a sad life, SO LAUGH!" And then, she began to giggle.
This was in response to an adult conversation my husband and I were having. Her reaction to our somber mode (which appeared as sadness to her) made us laugh, which rearranged the energy of the moment. Words spoken from the minds and hearts of children are remarkable in their honest, direct manner.
Adults, in our seriousness about life, tend to frown and lament about our experiences of the day. Levity, ease and happiness are replaced with seriousness, concern, fright, a narrow vision of the moment, past regrets, and future anxieties.
Children on the other hand, live in the moment, because life is all about pleasure and discovery. Their fun is disturbed only when an adult puts a damper on their enthusiasm, with a big, "NO, you can't do that!"
Among their multitudes of daily questions, they chant: can I go outside and jump on the trampoline in the dark, can I play basketball in the snow, can I eat candy in the morning, how many friends are allowed in my bed for a pillow fight, can I make a mudpie with rock frosting, can I make a leaf cave?
Their actions are imaginative with a laugh or two thrown in.
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Have you watched children put on a play? Or can you remember when you did the same for your parents and the neighborhood? Invention, costuming, staging and creativity, followed by bursts of silly laughter are the order of the day.
In the moment there is laughter — no agenda, no worries about how appearance, if you are good enough, did you remember your pretend lines, is your lipstick crooked — just plain old giggly gut spilling silliness. I do miss that element of being a child when there was no concern for the past or future, no worries about what the neighbors think, just a bright moment.
Let it be
Children have mastered the ability to be. They start loosing their laughing ability when they hear too many no's from parents or society; when they can't do a project they are interested in; or use their vivid imaginations; or wear certain clothes or be random and spontaneous.
Somehow the dictates of our culture seep into the fabric of young minds and instead of finding happiness inside, they start looking on the outside for acceptance, pleasure, satisfaction and wellbeing. Innate curiosity is replaced by societal concerns and constructs. Laughter may be lost in the process.
We have a choice in each moment to be serious and sad (according to my daughter) or light and happy. Sure, there are times when sadness is a deep reality. That is not what my daughter meant.
Take a moment and find something to laugh at, someone to laugh with. There are cartoons that will bring a smile to your face, silly cat and puppy videos on the internet, slapstick movies to watch and good jokes to pass along.
Observing children play can make your heart sing. There is new growth on the vines and flowers with butterflies that will soften a sad day. There is that cute little puppy next door that forgot his paws grew in the night.
So, go ahead, feel free to let go, soften that face and LAUGH!
Suzie Daggett is a writer and speaker. Her newest book is "The Pink Door: Moms' Journey to the Other Side" where she shares her thoughts about the passage from life to death. She can be reached at Suzie.firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.suziedaggett.com.