I love wrestling and tickling my kids. On Saturday mornings, I slide into their beds and tickle their backs. That will lead to more tickling and that often leads to massive wrestling matches.
A long time ago, I took some underwear, put them on my head and used the leg holes as eye holes; I looked like a bad, very-cheesy 1970 professional wrestler. I gave myself the rink name of “Underwear Man!”
Before showing myself from around the corner, with the kids in another room, I would sound like one of those rink announcers and yell “ARE YOOOOU READY TOOOO RUUUUMBLE!!!” I would begin to hear them giggle and then I would step out. Giggling turned to HUGE smiles and out-and-out laughter as they saw me in with absurdly funny underwear pulled tightly on my head. They would say, “Dad, your nose is right where the crotch is. That is gross.” (I obviously used clean underwear.) I would retort “I AM UNDEERRRWEEEEAAAR MAAAAN! NOOOO ONE DARES TO CHALLENGE ME!” I would stand on the coffee table and flex and pose, mimicking a theatrical professional wrestler. The more I hammed it up, the better. They would giggle and giggle.
After some very theatrical showboating, we would start to wrestle and I would pick my kids up and gently slam them on the couch. I would jump on them and pretend to get the count from the ref and then fall off just before the imaginary ref called the match over. My (and their) favorite move was what I called the double-fisted pile driver. I would pin them on their backs on the couch or bed (whatever arena we happen to be using), plant my fists on their chest and make a short, shaking motion that would jiggle and vibrate their entire body. They would laugh and laugh.
One Saturday, as I was working in the garage, I came into the house and heard some whispering and giggling. My kids were playing downstairs with neighborhood friends and my parental radar detected that they excitedly wanted me to come down stairs. I did not know what I was in for, but the anticipation for them was palpable. As I made my way downstairs ,the whispering and giggling gradually increased. As I turned the corner at the bottom of the stairs, there were seven kids ranging from five to 10 years old, all with underwear on their heads, calling me out.
Not one to ever shy away from a wrestling match, I jumped in and took them on. I would get one or two pinned on the couch and the others would jump on my back and scream to those pinned “I will save you!” The two I had pinned would scramble out and escape. I would then crumble from the weight, regain composure, pull them off my back and pin them, only to have two more jump on my back, allowing the pinned little ones to escape. Too much fun, laughing and giggling! This old grappler was way outnumbered. But hearing the laughter of children has always been one of the sweetest sounds I know. Nothing can bring you closer to heaven than to hear a child truly giggle and laugh.
The benefits of teaching your child to laugh are many, and as a parent, I believe you should, without a doubt, encourage, teach and exemplify the lighter side of life.
Laughter has the ability to neutralize anxiety and stress. Children that learn to laugh at certain situations are much more capable of coping with the curve balls life will certainly throw them as they grow older. Having a pleasant sense of humor is far more essential than the talent to tell amusing jokes or ability to pull an occasional prank. It’s a state of mind that permits you to see the sunnier side of life. Humor acts as a lens, allowing us to change our reality and help us manage stressful events. Recognizing and embracing the sillier stuff in life makes it a bit easier to cope with tough times.
A healthy sense of humor is a vital ingredient for a child while building strong self-esteem. Individuals with a healthy sense of humor are typically more popular and form friendships more easily. In turn, they usually feel better about themselves and those in their social circles. If you were to look at most online dating sites, I would bet you a million dollars “a strong sense of humor” is one of the most attractive character traits asked for by potential suitors.
Now, let’s not ignore the healing power of humor; a person who can make a friend laugh when they are feeling blue is someone who understands the value of empathy and how to apply it. Similarly, a child who can laugh at himself when he makes a mistake has an easier time accepting imperfection and is less afraid to attempt the task again.
So come on dads, moms, brothers, sisters, uncles and grandpas. Go grab the pair of (clean) underwear, tug it proudly over your head and start making your kids giggle and laugh. I promise, it will work. You will not even have to touch them. As soon as you come around the corner, the snickering and healthy, self-esteem building will be ready to rumble.Tags: " underwear, Art Coombs, child, children, families, family time, humor, leadership, parents, playing with children, sense of humor
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This post was written by Art