C.H.I.L.L. O.U.T. – Week 7 – Unleash Your Laughter
C.H.I.L.L. O.U.T. – Unleash Your Laughter
“…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
Quick – give me your mad mom face. Yeah, that one.
The one that says, “You’ve really done it now,”
“You’re in big trouble,”
“You’ve done it again.”
The one that evokes shame in some of your kids, fear in others, and repentance in still others. That face. You wouldn’t want to receive the look, but you have developed it over the years and yeah, it’s pretty effective.
Every mom has one. We think we have to. We think that it is just part of our repertoire of tools in our mom tool boxes. We know how to pull out a glance, a nod, a tap, an eyebrow and use it like a professional carpenter. We’ve got it going on.
But would you like a secret? Our mad mom face is probably over used. Terrifying isn’t it? To think that you might be without it. But before you think I am going to jump off into the abyss that is the current rage, that of being a ‘yes’ mom, I am not. I will not. I cannot advocate for that. (Commentary on that is forth coming-stay tuned to my blog. Title: Say ‘No’ to Being a Yes Mom.)
I am just suggesting that smiling at your kids, at ‘that’ kid might very well do more good that your best mean mom look. Yep. Don’t believe me? Here’s my reason: your kids, especially ‘that’ kid, needs to know that you are on their side, that you’ve got their back, that you love them. Yes, that’s it, that you love them. That’s what the smile on mom’s face communicates, “I love you!”
My mean face is really good at shaming my kids, at making them feel like all they can do is what I’ve asked them not to do, at making them feel like all I care about are their actions. It is really good at communicating that I’ve got it all together, that I don’t ever mess up, that I’m perfect. But none of that is true. I don’t have it all together. I mess up daily. And I am far from perfect.
The fact is that when I dare to smile at my kids-often-I am communicating to them that I do get it. I get that it’s hard to do the right thing all the time. I get that it is hard to sit still. I get that it’s hard to pay attention. I get that it’s easy to get distracted. I get that sometimes I don’t know why I’m sad or mad or frustrated or grumpy. I get it.
Smiling communicates to my kids that we are on the same team. We are all living in a fallen world and we need each other to fight temptation, to encourage each other, to celebrate victories.
Similarly, laughing with your kids is like glue. My Dad has a great laugh, very distinctive and frankly, loud. I love my Dad’s laugh. To me it represents security, acceptance and comfort. I know that when Dad laughs everything might not be alright, but we are going to make it through together.
Laughter is like a safety valve for stress. When you don’t have it in place, stress can be overwhelming, even debilitating. But when the valve exists and is characteristically wide open, stress dissipates even when circumstances don’t change.
Our guiding verse for this point is Ecclesiastes 3:4, “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance….” And in Proverbs 17:22 it says “a cheerful heart is good medicine.”
As I study the life of Jesus, the only people He became angry with were the one who should have known better. With the Pharisees He responded with righteous anger and frustration. We are not Jesus. And generally, even though we might want them to know better, they are in process. They forget. They don’t learn the first time. They don’t understand. And they, like me, like you, mess up.
Our kids need to see our smiles. They need to hear our laughter. They can spot a fake from a mile off. But as we cultivate our own joy, the joy of our salvation, we can “laugh at the days to come” (Proverbs 31:25). How is that possible? Because we know that God is on the throne. We can live with confident hope knowing that He’s got this!
For further consideration and study download your free study guide for Week 7 – dare to dig deeper!