When thinking on a suitable topic for the penultimate Parent Wellbeing Blog this year, what better choice than Humour, in the belief that a good laugh benefits health, relationships and overall well being. That is equally true in college and at home. It may not be the obvious one that springs to mind toward the end of such a tumultuous year, but it seems apt for several reasons. Firstly, it is the Character Strengths focus for Prep & Pre-Prep over the last 2 weeks of term. Secondly, many of us love ‘good and corny’ jokes and will seize every opportunity to present these knowing humour and laughter are good for the body and the mind. Before I start to further justify the choice of Humour, just one “Thank You”, and it is to Mrs Halsall/ Lisa who has coordinated the scheduling of all 31 blogs this year along with many, many other tasks. Lisa is an absolute star who will be hugely missed by so many in the college community when she goes back to the UK at the end of this term to be with Ella and Zak. The only fault I can find with Lisa is that she has never laughed at any of my Dad Jokes. That includes classics such as:
- “I like waiters” … “They bring a lot to the table”
- “Sweden has just appointed the CEO of IKEA to be their Prime Minister”… “He is assembling his cabinet over the weekend”.
- “I have a chronic fear of giants”…. “Feefiphobia”
- “Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana”
Failing to at least smile at these is beyond me, but not Lisa! Possibly when she reads this blog herself she will realise the therapeutic benefit of laughter and break into a smile when she hears the next one.
Humour has been on the schedule for blogs from the start of the year but we had so many excellent articles in the pipeline that it has been pushed back toward the end. When Mr Gough announced at Pre-Prep and Prep staff briefing that Humour was to be the focus for the final two weeks of term, it just had to be shared with parents before the end of the year. The ‘Humour’ shared with the Pre-Prep and Prep staff was:
- “I once dated an apostrophe:…. “Too possessive”
- “What word starts with an ‘e’ and ends with an ‘e’ but only has one letter?” … “Envelope”
Ms Brooke guessed the second very swiftly and I am sure she was smiling when she gave the correct response – smiling is something she does so well and, as we will see, this is a great habit that will keep you smart, happy and healthy.
To address the ‘why’ – which is always a good starting point, I will quote from one of the wealth of references which, as you can read below, explains some of the benefits of humour. Humour is often dismissed as a distraction from the serious side of life and something that trivialises. I look on that in the same way as sleep can be dismissed as a waste of time that could be spent working or doing something more productive. Thankfully the research into the benefits of sleep are now leading to an appreciation of just how wonderful the process is for the body and mind. Read on and discover likewise for humour as explained by the charity HelpGuide :
“Laughter is strong medicine. It draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body.
Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh.
Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner.
With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.”
Laughter is good for your health
- Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
- Laughter burns calories. Okay, so it’s no replacement for going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn approximately 40 calories—which could be enough to lose three or four pounds over the course of a year.
- Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load. Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations without holding onto bitterness or resentment.
- Laughter may even help you to live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don’t laugh as much. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer.
Also worth a watch and listen is the Ted Talk: The Superpower of Humour: including the quote “When we laugh, we relax; when we relax, we learn”. Obviously, there is a level of relaxation that gives the optimum conditions for learning and we do not want ‘belly laughs’ throughout a lesson, but the quote has a lot of truth to it. Humour can give the body a boost, but also help reduce stress and anxiety so there is a sharper focus, improved relationships and better engagement in learning.
Humour comes in many different forms. In this blog, I am focusing on jokes, but there are many classic TV comedies, films, stand up comedy shows, YouTube clips etc. Lots of content for a future blog! It is laughing with others, not laughing at them and glorying in others misfortune. That is not humour, that is ridicule and humiliation. True humour in the context we are looking at does not cause offence and gives no cause for apology or embarrassment. For this blog, we will continue on the theme of Dad Jokes which will hopefully make you smile and/or laugh. You should not have to wait to pull a Christmas cracker to find a corny joke that you just cannot help laughing at and sharing with friends or/and family. I often drop in the occasional joke at the end of a particular lesson, as I believe in the benefits of laughter to body and mind. Much better if the joke is relevant to the subject being taught, but that is easy to accommodate as there is so much choice. In teaching Maths any of the following will do (and have been used):
- Are monsters good at math?
Not unless you Count Dracula.
- What is the butterfly’s favorite subject in school?
- Why is six afraid of seven?
Because seven eight nine!
- Why did seven eat nine?
Because you’re supposed to eat 3 squared meals a day!
- Why was the maths book sad?
It had a lot of problems.
- What did the spelling book say to the math book?
“I know I can count on you!”
- Did you hear the one about the statistician?
- Why was the student upset when his teacher called him average?
It was a mean thing to say!
- Why is the obtuse triangle always so frustrated?
Because it’s never right.
- Why was the equal sign so humble?
Because she knew she wasn’t greater than or less than anyone else.
Mathematics has a wealth of relevant jokes to call on that are widely understood by all. Computer Science Dad Jokes are a bit more ‘niche’ – a bit like comedies such as ‘The IT Crowd’. There are plenty to choose from, however, so here is something on Computer Science to make you smile, do try because now you know it is good for you:
- Have you visited conjunctivitis.com? …
It’s a site for sore eyes
- Bill Gates divorce settlement has been declared
His wife got the house and he got the Windows
- Have you heard of that new band “1023 Megabytes”?
They’re pretty good, but they don’t have a gig just yet.
- Autocorrect has become my worst enema.
- My computer suddenly started belting out “Someone Like You.”
It’s a Dell.
- What do you get when you cross a computer and a lifeguard?
- Where do all the cool mice live?
In their mousepads
- What do you get when you cross a computer with an elephant?
Lots of memory
Such humour, at suitable times, can raise smiles and positively contribute to a healthy learning environment and overall well being. As with our overall approach to aspects of [email protected], this view is supported by a convincing body of evidence. Humour is a positive contributor to a healthy body and healthy mind. Enjoy it and share it as there is nothing that raises the mood more than a broad smile. Smiling and laughing together as a family is so important, particularly after the year we have had.
I hope summer brings you some quality family time and an opportunity to laugh together (even if that may be through GMeet or Zoom). To help you and your family understand ‘why’ laughter and humor are good for you, please read this relevant content from the Mayo Clinic.
Once you have finished with that you can indulge yourself on Instagram Dad Jokes.
Magnus Cowie | Deputy Head Pastoral