There’s a rich resource I’d like to share with you, and the great news is that you won’t have to search the internet for it, nor do you have to buy it. It’s inside each of us. It’s possible you’ve forgotten how to tap into it, or maybe you’re out of practice, but it’s still there. As a reminder of what you’re capable of I suggest that tonight—when your family or friends least expect it—you make a fool of yourself.
Let me explain.
The other night at dinner my son said, “Can we do the beatbox thing?” We hadn’t beatboxed recently, but a few moments later one of us started with a mouth-noise, which was followed soon after by whoooa-whoooa—whoooa-whoooa; someone else began tapping, keeping time, and when we got around the whole table it was all we could do to keep it up and not laugh.
Slowly, in the same order we started, everyone stopped until only one sound remained. Then silence. Then laughter.
Dinner together with three active sons can be hit and miss, and with high school looming in our not-so-distant future, things aren’t going to slow down. Therefore it would be easy to force meaningful dialogue or rich interaction—which we have done from time to time. However, we also beatbox and laugh.
About a year ago I wrote several posts about silliness on my blog. Before I began, I asked my family why it’s important for us to be silly together, and then I spent a little over a month reflecting on the answers. Essentially, we said it can reveal joy, remind us of who we are, create fun, bring balance, and solidify relationships. What’s silly to me now is the fact that I hadn’t thought about such things too deeply again until this week.
I spent some time looking back at those pieces, and it’s interesting to think about the timing of it all—how the end of winter and the promise of spring has brought silliness back to mind. Oh, we’ve been silly, sure, but my sons are still better at it than I am, and evidently I need to ponder its benefits again.
For instance, the beatbox thing. I don’t always want to do that, and it’s to my son’s credit for bringing it to the table.
What it did that night was open me up to further silliness (some call it foolishness). As we finished eating, I began to sing what I saw my boys doing. The lyrics included classics like, “Why can’t he use his fork?” and, “Yes, lean over your plate!” Followed by the new single, “He’s walking to the kitchen, dirty plate in his hand!” And of course, “They’re lookin’ at me now, askin’ ‘What are you doing?’”
The purpose, as you may have guessed, was to get them to laugh at me—to get us laughing together once more because it felt good. Yet, there are some important byproducts of all this silliness, one of which has to do with humility.
I don’t like to admit it, but I’ve built a platform for myself. Most of the time you can’t see it. I might even trick you into thinking the monstrous construction doesn’t exist, but it casts a deep shadow on my mind all the way from my heart. Unless I allow it to be destroyed, I’m always on it or trying to climb it or add to it.
The platform has many names: Pride, Self Importance, Self. Call it what you will. No matter the name we give it, we don’t see things well up there; we can’t properly discern God’s blessings, and we can hardly interact—let alone love one another.
We’re better on ground level. My hope is you know exactly what I mean, that you know we’re talking about a childlike attitude that leads to the kind of fruitfulness Christ desires.
The good news is that we have the resources to destroy Pride and remember the child within; one of them is silliness. Another piece of good news: silly songs are powerful—so much so, my Self-made platform crumples at the first giggle. And the more we practice, the easier it is to laugh at myself and pull my family into it. I want this for you, too!
Maybe you’re unsure: you haven’t been silly in years, and you wouldn’t know where to start.
How about this—we’ll begin with funny faces in the mirror; I’ll go first. And once you’re ready we’ll move to a dance or two in the hallway, a twist, a silent shuffle. Don’t worry, I can’t dance either (we get more laughs that way). Yes, and when we practice together we’ll simply be together, and without realizing it our love for one another will run over…
This is your ticket to be freely and earnestly silly, to laugh at yourself with someone close to you, to stick your tongue out at Self Importance and hug that child within. Seriously: silliness can destroy our Pride with cherubic simplicity, and we’d be fools to let another day pass without it.
Featured image by freepik