The Leadership of Laughter...
I learned something last night.
Laughter attracts people.
I had already kissed Aly and Taylor goodnight, tucking them in and tickling them with my fingertips, my whiskery chin, my nibbling on their ear lobes and my counting their ribs (Taylor used to say, "Dad, count my ribbons!") I turned on their fan, cracked the closet door so that a shaft of light illuminated the room with a gentle glow, and walk toward Kami's room while saying over and over "I love you, my little princesses!"
As I made my way into Kami's room, she was waiting with bated breath. I could tell she wanted to talk a little bit, so I laid next to her and let her spill her guts. She took me down about every rabbit hole and cow path of conversation she could squeeze out of her little memory bank. A couple thing she said struck me funny and I laughed out loud. One thing she said reminded me of something I had experienced that day and so I shared it with her. She laughed hysterically until tears poured out of her eyes. I was laughing at how hard she was laughing...a "laughter begets laughter" sort of thing.
Low and behold, I noticed a shadow move across the wall indicating that someone was standing in the doorway blocking the light that sines in from the bathroom. It was the silhouette of my daughter Aly. She walked towards Kami's bed and said, "What are you guys laughing about?" We retold the story again which got her laughing. I'm a sucker for laughter, so I busted out another story that I thought was funny from my day. This induced a deeper, more guttural laughter yet. Minutes later, Taylor made her way into the doorframe and stood there wondering what was going on. She came into the room and said, "What are you guys laughing so hard about?"
We retold the same stories again and got her to laughing with us. I then told them about a couple new stories that their Mom and I experienced on our date just that night. Kami was about in tears and Aly was laughing at Kami's reaction that was obviously caused by something hitting her "funny bone" just right. Taylor, who revels in the opportunity to both be up late and get in on grown up talk folded right into the moment with her shot-gun giggle. It wasn't long before we were packed on Kami's bed each trying our hand at some stand up comedy.
Much to my chagrin, I had to put a kibosh on the night and get them to bed. But as I descended the stairs and toward the living room. I thought about how irresistible laughter is to people. It piques people's curiosity and draws them in like a moth to the flame.
Furthermore, I wonder if one of the most essential traits of leadership is the ability to laugh. People follow the sounds of joy. They are dying for comic relief under the dark shroud that envelopes them on most days. Their souls are needing the cathartic therapy of a good hearty laugh. Leaders have got to learn to laugh hard and live in such a way as to induce laughter in others. Parents have got to laugh more. Pastors have got to laugh more.
I think one of the biggest turn offs is people who take themselves and life too seriously. They are always bent toward a sober take on situations. They live out a gravity, but neglect a much needed levity.
Sometimes people don't need to learn, they just need to laugh.
I submit that if we can get some laughter going in our lives, it won't be long before people are standing in the doorway wanting in on whatever we're doing.
How badly our world needs the leadership of laughter.