Friday, December 4, 2015



     At my Toastmaster meeting last night, I was asked a question to which I was to give an answer off the top of my head. My response could not last more than two minutes or continue less than one minute. This activity forces us as public speakers to think on our feet. Most of us just want to get through it without any “ahs,” “ums,” or stumbles. Most of the time, my answers are lame, as I am not good at thinking on my feet. Last night, however, the answer just rolled off my tongue. The question was:  “If you could give a newborn baby one piece of advice, what would you give him?” My immediate answer without skipping a beat (very unlike me) was “Laughter is contagious; spread the virus.” This is my signature on my daily blog.


      I suggested that if babies came out laughing instead of crying, maybe the world would be a better place. I said that there is not enough laughter in the world, and sometimes when we endure a tough patch or suffer from a personal crisis (like I have over the years), we stop smiling and laughing. These are the times that our laughter is most important, as it offers a prescription for calm, peace and comfort. When I was divorced working four jobs, dealing with two angry teen-age daughters, trying to make sense out of where I was headed in my life, I rarely smiled or laughed outside of my classroom.* One day, I was talking to someone, and I began to laugh. I stopped short and felt my face. My face had been in a state of tension and frown for so long, I forgot what it felt like to laugh. It was a physical reaction I had to this laughter, and I remember saying to myself, “Oh my gosh, it has been so long since I actually laughed.” I returned to the point of the question by saying, “If we could give every infant a frame through which he or she could see the world, I would equip this frame with a giggle switch that would allow the child to see everything with a filter of humor, joy and silly. There is so much tragedy in the world, if we can hold fast to our sense of humor, we will find the road to strength much easier to navigate.

*My classroom was my “safe place.” There I laughed everyday. My students made me laugh. I designed lesson plans to make them laugh. Sometimes I laughed so hard, I had to hold my stomach and work hard to regain control. They all laughed too. Oh, how I miss that.