Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Laughter: Important Tool for Chaplaincy


How important is laughter? Does it fit with the good news of the Gospel? Did Jesus like to laugh? When people think about church, do they feel it would be a joyful place where laughter would be welcome? How come children laugh so much more than adults?

All these questions could form the basis of dozens of blog posts...but I will give them one. Actually I probably won't answer any of them except the first...and even then...

I was once told, after having won a preaching prize, that it would have been better if I had cut out the humour...it was frivolous. Better? For who? Certainly not the people listening. I like to give a serious and challenging message and to do so I need to use humour. With adults you could get away with using no humour...but with children and young people? It is like having a toolbox without a hammer or screwdriver.

In my opinion If you are working with children and young people (and adults) using wholesome humour and providing opportunities for laughs should be a priority for a whole lot of reasons.
  • laughing makes people feel good 
  • it helps keep people focused on your message
  • it helps people connect with what you are saying
  • it breaks down barriers people have to hearing
  • it helps people remember what you said
  • it provides light and shade
  • people like to laugh

I am sure there are peer reviewed papers or weighty tomes somewhere extolling the virtue of a good laugh. But who needs them? See the first and last on the list above. People like to laugh and there are plenty of great ways to do it. Sure it can be risky and frightening and you can fall flat on your face...but it is worth the risk. If you can't be humorous yourself use other people's humour. 

So. Here is a video. I saw this at a school assembly ages ago [this is a repost]. Thank you to the student who showed it. The thing I really love about this is that it is giving a simple message in a fun, creative and funny way. People are more likely to hear a message if they also get to laugh while hearing it. 

So watch and reflect...how can make your school community laugh while sharing the good news with them. I would love to hear some of the ways you have done this.

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