How stereotypical to write a post about my dad on Father's Day. But, you must understand, my dad has never been much of a presents guy. In fact, the happiest I remember him ever being from a gift was when my brother and I purchased him a plain, white mug for Christmas. Total cost: $2. Great price, great purpose, great present.
However, my dad likes my blog. He may be my biggest fan. Whenever we talk on the phone he brings up my latest post and tells me what he thought about it and what comments he would have posted if he could figure out how to do so.
Thus, I figure a blog post devoted to my dad would be a great gift for a man who has never needed anything as long as I've known him. (After all, with three sons, he has a steady supply of hand-me-down sneakers, and who needs more than one sweater anyway).
Logistically, the sheer amount of time a child spends with her parents equals a massive amount of content as far as life lessons are concerned. Thus, today, I will focus on just one genre of lessons learned, Fatherly Lessons in Humor.
Ya'll, humor is important! Though I've known many funny people in my life, during these past three years of being a parent, I have discovered that the majority of my humor comes from my dad.
The realization hit me suddenly one day when I was lying around dreaming of future deals I'll make with my daughter. I'll say something along the lines of, "Hey Samara, I'll trade you 10 pennies for 3 dimes. It's a good deal. You'll be getting more, because 10 is more than 3." I found myself laughing out loud at how irritated this interaction will make her ... and I thought of my dad.
This led to a series of memories. A generic one includes an image of his face with his thumb in his mouth, blowing up his cheeks and his eyes bulging out of his head. Still makes me laugh.
A more specific one is from the week of my wedding. He and I were practicing for our big moment , the one where we head down the aisle for him to give me away. With every three steps forward, he'd grab my arm and launch us three hops back in true Three Stooges fashion. It was hilarious. I'm pretty sure my younger brothers sat nearby watching laughing like this.
In all my years of laughing at my dad, I can never remember him making fun of other people, being rude, swearing, or telling inappropriate jokes. His humor was hilarious, but totally G-rated. This is awesome! This is exactly the type of funny I want to be with my kids.
Kids, and people in general, do not like to be laughed at. They do not like to be made fun of. It's absolutely genius to be a person who directs all the blows at yourself. Are you really going to offend yourself?
This kind of humor also requires more creativity. Anyone can swear a lot or tell dirty jokes, but to be clean and make someone laugh involves clever word plays, puns, a lighthearted view of a situation and so on. It means being able to see humor in the simplest, most mundane situations.
It's the kind of funny that makes a huge traffic jam a joy or a long line at an amusement park a memory. It's the kind of funny that can be repeated in front of any audience, old, young, holy, or otherwise.
I did not realize it growing up, but understanding this type of humor is most certainly a gift! It is the type of thing that enables a person to break the tension in almost any awkward situation. It is something that makes your kids like you (even respect you) during those teenage years when they really want to hate you. It is a kind of funny that brings smiles years later.
Thus, I want to thank my dad today for teaching me the art of laughter. It is something that runs through the memories of my childhood, and something that will continue to bring joy in my own family as I teach my children to laugh at his same old jokes. Because they are still funny.
Lesson Learned: If someone sticks out their hand and says, "hit my fist," beware. You're probably going to get bonked on the head!