Believe it or not, blogging is not my full time gig. Most of the time, I am actually coaching team sports for 3-5 year olds. One of the more satisfying aspects of my job (besides getting to play team sports all day with 3-5 year olds) is being part of their lives, and seeing them grow and develop. Many of the children in my program return year after year, and so it is a special treat to see them mature not just athletically, but mentally and socially as well.
Of the thousands of young children that I have worked with, one aspect of their development seems to invariably develop at a much slower pace than adults usually appreciate. That is their sense of humor.
At my summer camp, I literally will hear the same joke repeated hundreds of times by scores of kids. (I won’t even go into how often they blow the punch line of said joke, either.) Suffice it to say that if I never hear…
“Banana.”…again. . .ever. . .it will be too soon.
To illustrate my point, try to recall a time when a young child has tried to tell you a joke. Can you remember when they told you a punch line or an answer to a riddle that made NO SENSE whatsoever?
To further illustrate my point, get a group of Kindergarteners together and tell them your best joke, and you will often get blank stares. Suddenly exclaim, “BOOGERS!” at the lunch table however, and you’ll have to give each of them a napkin to wipe away the milk that came out of their noses.
You can imagine then the satisfaction for my co-workers and I when the day finally arrives and a child comes to sports class and has miraculously developed an actual funny bone. It’s refreshing. It’s delightful.
It’s even better when your own child starts to understand how to make a joke. My son recently turned six, and for the majority or his life, humor consisted of making strange noises while jumping around the room. Just yesterday, he reached a great milestone in his young life. He saw the potential for humor in a situation, and made the most of it.
It started out innocently enough. He was feeling particularly affectionate and walked up to me, hugged me and said, “I love you, Dad.”
“How much do you love me?” I responded playfully.
He thought about it for a moment and answered, “4006.”
“That’s a whole bunch!” I told him, “I love you, too!”
It was very sweet and unfunny up to this point. Then my wife chimed in from across the living room, “How much do you love me?”
You could actually see the humor wrecking ball destroy the un-funny barrier in his expression as he glanced over his shoulder to make sure I was listening, grinned, and answered, “4007!” and waited for my response. I was overjoyed! I proceeded to chase him around the living room in mock indignation until I corned him and tickled him for his answer. It was delightful. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!