Somewhere in this world today – right now, there is a child singing the most serene tune of childhood for all to hear. As she plays in a sandbox while a worm crawls across her hand, or feels the whiskers of her daddy’s chin tickle her belly – she is laughing. This laughter, which comes straight from the heart and is void of comical intervention, is the simplest, most explicit joy in the world - bringing new meaning to the word truth. When a child laughs, they are happy and self indulged. They are tickled with joy and overcome with a sheer happiness that is often lost on adults. They laugh when things are funny and when they are not and they most certainly laugh at the most ridiculous states of themselves and others without shame or embarrassment.
In fact, proving that the joy of a children’s laughter is so covetable, there are figures that support the idea that each time a child laughs, a parent spends $2.17. Of all commercial kid friendly conglomerates, Disney executives know this perhaps the best and they work emphatically to get and keep children laughing as part of their duty to society and to their bottom line. The laughter of children, not just for Disney, but also for parents, teachers, and humanity alike is a small proof of giant success and a tasty and palpable glimpse of happiness.
The best part about children is that they are often unedited. It doesn’t take the most well crafted comical skit to get them belly laughing into hysterics. It isn’t always the misfortune of someone else falling down the stairs or leaving toilet paper trailing from their pants that makes them want to laugh. Instead, children laugh because they are still living in the heightened state of optimism and faith; where all things to be, to come and that were – are fragments of a perfect and harmonious world filled with magic that children and children alone still believe in.
Rather than finding ways to make children laugh, buying toys to keep them laughing or providing surprises to provoke a laugh; adults should be spending more time finding ways to maintain their laughter so it remains a part of whom they are. We should look at our children laughing at the way it feels it feel wind on their face, sand in their shoes and water on their toes – and wonder why we too don’t laugh at the same things anymore.
Laughter isn’t supposed to be about funny. Laughter isn’t supposed to be something we work hard to accomplish. It shouldn’t have to be prescribed as a way to distress and it should not be hard to find. After all, it lived in our hearts once too. The question is where did it go? Mark Twain said, “The human race has only one really effective weapon, and that weapon is laughter!” Laughter can keep us young and healthy. It can change a negative mindset and can shatter the shrill silence of being overwhelmed, fatigued, defeated, and sad. Laughter can beat all things and cannot be beat, whether it is our own, or our children.
Suffice it to say, that children have something to teach us. As we look back on our lives and laugh at all the stupid mistakes we have made, decisions we have rushed to make, troubles that consumed us and endearing moments that have taken our breath away; we will laugh without inhibition, just like a child. Not because it is funny – but because it is who we are and we are happy somehow.
The joy of children’s laugh. It cannot be bottled or resisted. It cannot be bought, despite what the people at Disney say – and it can’t be recaptured. Each time they laugh, it is like the first time all over again and their world is new, fresh, full of imagination, and completely moldable to their whims and wishes. Children laugh because they know life is easy and they know that laughter feels good – even and perhaps especially, in the most serious of moment. As we envelope ourselves in the joy of children laughing, we should try to recapture our own laughter and spread the magic around.