Don’t you find it interesting that babies laugh before they talk?

Everybody likes to laugh. In fact, it’s a healthy habit. “A cheerful heart is good medicine,” wrote Solomon, “but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength” (Proverbs 17:22).

Good parents and healthy children tend to see the humor in life.

Several months ago we received a letter from a young boy. I figured he wanted some advice on how to help his sibling break a bad habit.  His motives were more selfish.

“Please pray for my brother, he wets the bed,” he wrote. “Please pray for me. I share the bed with my brother.”

Do things ever tickle you in the newspaper or online? Someone recently passed along a couple of newspaper corrections that made me laugh:

In a recipe for salsa published yesterday, one of the ingredients was misstated, due to an error. The correct ingredient is “2 tsp of cilantro” instead of “2 tsp of cement.”

And then there was this apology for an apology:

In correcting the incorrect statements published about Mark Steyn published October 15th, we incorrectly published the incorrect correction. We accept and regret that our original regret was unacceptable.

Did you follow that?

Indeed, it’s good to laugh, so long as our laughter doesn’t put down or come at another person’s expense.

The late W.H Auden was one of America’s most beloved writers during the 20th century. Interestingly, he once pondered the role of comedy in our society. In doing so, he drew a sharp distinction between comedy that lifts up as opposed to that which puts down:

“[Comedy] is not only possible within a Christian society, but capable of a much greater breadth and depth than classical comedy. Greater in breadth because classical comedy is based upon a division of mankind into two classes, those who have arete [excellence] and those who do not, and only the second class, the fools, shameless rascals, slaves, are fit subjects for comedy.

But Christian comedy is based upon the belief that all men are sinners; no one, therefore, whatever his rank or talents, can claim immunity from the comic exposure and, indeed, the more virtuous, in the Greek sense, a man is, the more he realizes that he deserves to be exposed. Greater in depth because, while classical comedy believes that rascals should get the drubbing they deserve, Christian comedy believes that we are forbidden to judge others and that it is our duty to forgive each other.

In classical comedy the characters are exposed and punished: when the curtain falls, the audience is laughing and those on stage are in tears. In Christian comedy the characters are exposed and forgiven: when the curtain falls, the audience and the characters are laughing together.”

If you want to have a happy and healthy home you’d be wise to make sure good-natured humor is practiced on a regular basis.

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