"You grow up the day that you have your first real laugh at yourself" - Ethel Barrymore

This quote gave me more than pause the other day ; it actually stopped me dead in my tracks.  It is because it is true. How many little tykes or young children have you observed laughing along with others when they have been the object or target of a joke or teasing? Not many. Once youngsters sense that others are getting a laugh at their expense usually the tears begin to flow, understandably so. 

When I read this quote however I began to wonder if many of us "grownups" are much different. I would dare say that we should be but perhaps are not and sometimes the biggest offender of this is the individual I see staring back at me from the mirror. I have three sons who are all grown and married now. One of their favorite hobbies is teasing their mom mercilessly - the take no prisoners sort of teasing !  Sometimes I respond with a chuckle or a laugh yet other times I find those big ugly sensitive antennae standing up straight and tall ready to sound the alarm if needed. All of their joking is in good fun and not meant to be hurtful. I know that so why is my reaction sometimes identical to that of the toddlers in the church nursery or the kiddos on the school playground? It shouldn't be and is actually so silly when I truly think about it. Perhaps you have sons like mine….or maybe a husband, or a friend , or even a coworker who loves to yank your chain now and then. If so , the best response is to simply laugh at yourself ; to see the humor that your own life can produce. It doesn't make you inferior or less of a person to chuckle about yours truly ….to the contrary it lightens the load, takes the sting out of  the serious side of life and ultimately will give you a boost. 

When I think of all the folks that I have known who simply do a great job of not taking themselves too seriously and who are quick and comfortable with laughing at themselves I realize that those are the same folks who I admire the most. They are the ones who seem to draw others to themselves and who have such a wonderful effect on all those who they come in contact with. Are you this kind of person ? I know that I try to be but often fail miserably. It certainly is something to work on.

Another truth is that those who good naturally tease and poke at you are usually the same ones who love you the most in this crazy, cruel world which is a good thing. I am always pulling the leg of those who are most important to me so why is that fact hard to remember when we are on the receiving end of getting our leg pulled ? Next time someone is needling you, instead of responding with a serious "ouch" why not surprise them with a hearty and genuine laugh ?

The day that you do will be the day that you know you are on your way to growing up !

God bless and have a great day :)      

Pam Hastings