Laugh-OftenChild, you have a great laugh. It mostly comes out when we chase you or tickle you, and it’s awfully infectious.

Your Mama can be a bit serious at times, intensely focused on the task before her, and I promise I’m working on this because really, I want to laugh more with you. Once upon a time, when I was a teenager, Grandpa told me to play more & have more fun. I’ve remembered that, even as an adult, because for people wired like me, our default setting can be to simply work harder and be more diligently focused when life presses in. It is so very fun, though, to have something in the midst of all the crazy of life that simply makes you laugh out loud, wherever you are.

I want you to know that it is good and right to laugh. To find real joy in something funny. Please laugh. Find friends and surround yourself with people who can make you laugh until your cheeks ache and your stomach hurts. People with whom you can have special jokes, key words that, well-placed into conversation, can lighten a situation and make you laugh out loud. Choose a spouse who can make you laugh with total delight, because it will make the hard times so much easier and soften a hardened heart.

Laughter truly can be the very best medicine, and a cheery heart is life-giving. A well-timed laugh can carry you through hard seasons, and be a heart-lifting display of joy when things feel like they couldn’t be better. There will be days when it will be incredibly difficult to find humour, but please do. There is always something to smile at, if you’re looking for it. Truly, life is often flat-out funny if we lift our eyes to see it and let our guard down long enough.

I also want you to know that it will damage your own soul if you choose laughter at the expense of others. There is this part of our shared humanity that breaks when we use our words to injure, especially under the guise of ‘making fun’. Don’t hurt people with your laugh. Please don’t laugh when someone is shamed or injured. It’s likely that one day you’ll hear someone laugh at you, and oh, Dear Girl, the reality of that makes my heart ache. When it happens, please remember not to retaliate in kind, or use humour as a weapon, because words really can hurt us, despite what we’ve been told.

Please though, bring the world your joyful smile and a generous dose of belly laughter.