Parenting often feels like a guessing game to me. Like all kids, mine are so different. What one kid needs is totally different from the other. What speaks to one doesn’t speak to another. It keeps me on my toes trying to figure out how to parent five kids with such different personalities and needs. I asked my eight year old if I could share a story about how he has overcome some fears and embraced the way God made him. He said it is a good story and it was okay for me to share.
This kid is funny. He has a gift for making people laugh in a way that is just clean humor (as opposed to potty humor like his brothers!). He can share humor in a way that doesn’t make fun of others or cause others pain. It is an ability that is unique to him in our family. The problem was he would be crushed when people laughed at him. Last year we joined a homeshool group that included the kids giving weekly presentations to their peers. For months, he has bravely given his presentations, but not without great struggle. He told me his greatest fear was messing up and people laughing at him.
Goodness that broke me heart. It was especially tricky to navigate because he is just so funny and witty.
We began talking about how humor is such a needed part of our world. I shared with him great comedians and stories of how laughter brings healing to the hurting. We talked about how God shaped him in such a unique way to bring joy to others through his humor. Being able to bring laughter to others in a pure form that is not at the expense of others is so rare. Slowly, he began seeing the difference in being laughed at out of meanness and being laughed at because has a gift of humor.
Slowly, he began gaining confidence and allowing himself to share his humor while welcoming the laughter.
He still isn’t a big fan of presentations, but he is beginning to embrace the laughter of others and his skill at evoking that laughter.
When his cousin wanted the Frozen party, he decided he wanted to surprise her by showing up as Olaf. It seems like a simple thing, but it was so huge for me to watch. On his own initiative he wanted to share his gift and bring about the laughter of others. He worked the crowd and delighted his cousin. He offered lots of free hugs and didn’t cower when everyone laughed.I am so incredibly proud of him and the journey he has been on over the last year. The world needs more laughter – good, fun humor. I’ve never gone to bed thinking, “Man, I sure wish I hadn’t laughed so much today.” I’m thankful he brings the gift of laughter to our home and that he is starting to embrace the beautiful way he was made. He has a gift and it is a joy watching him grow in it.