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The Most Important Thing My Dad Taught Me

We celebrated all fathers this past Sunday and although your dad seems pretty cool, I thought I would write a post on why my Dad is cooler than yours just kidding, sorta.

My Dad has taught me a lot of things over the years and I thought I'd talk about one of those things. Aside from loving the Lord, the most important thing my Dad has taught me is...

To laugh

Seems trivial enough, but the ability to have a sense of humor has been one of my saving graces. I would consider a sense of humor in my top three character traits if you don't think I'm funny, please don't speak now and forever hold your peace.

When we were kids we'd all sit down at the dinner table and Dad would ask, "Hey Sarah, could you get the ranch from the fridge please?" While I was gone he'd snag my plate and put it on his lap so I'd come back to an empty place setting. The conversation would continue:

Me: "Dad, give me my plate back!"

Dad: "What plate? I didn't steal it, I was here eating my steak the whole time! It must have been your mother or one of your brothers!" (My Dad never had a problem blaming his shenanigans on his young children). 

Mom: "Oh Donald it was not me!" 

The whole time my Dad had a guilty look on his face (poker + my Dad = you'll get rich). 

As you can see, I had his shenanigans more or less figured out by the time I was say... five. 

Sometimes he'd get tricky (hiding my chocolate cake in the entertainment center behind the TV while I grabbed a glass of milk), but even then it was just a matter of finding out where my plate went. 

As my brothers got older and my Mom started realizing that she was going to be blamed anyway, our house became this giant game of Clue. Who did it, what room is it in, and what was their weapon (i.e. did they use their stomach to polish off the food for you or did they simply use their hands to hide it) ?

As annoying as it got much as I loved it, we always had a laugh. Hiding food turned into other serious matters...

~ Like the one time my brother hid at the foot of my bed under the blankets causing me to pee myself when I climbed into bed and felt a warm body at my feet. 

~ Enjoying a warm shower only to be interrupted by a cold splash of water coming from above 

~ Being hard at work on homework only to be tapped on the shoulder, turning around to find a horny toad being held in my face. 

You get the idea.{And for the record, I clearly did not partake in any retaliation efforts to any of the afore mentioned pranks.}

Goofy was (and is) the honorary middle name of all Boyle family members. 

(I think Dad was going for Bob Dylan in this game of charades. He hates this picture.) 

And I rarely remember not laughing.

I came to college and while I still laughed, it didn't seem to be quite as much. People found offense in pranks and suddenly I was meeting a lot more people who seemed to take life pretty seriously.  Neither of these are inherently wrong, they were just different than what I'm used to and five years later I'm still learning to adjust depending on who I'm around. 

I would be the first to say that life isn't a joke, and some of the situations in life are horrid and not worthy of a smile, much less a laugh. 

But I have found that a sense of humor can go a long way in stressful situations. Whether it's to diffuse a tense pause or lightly poke fun at a mistake I made, humor has helped me immensely in my life and in my job. Even if the humor of a situation is found after the fact (as it normally is at my job), it serves as a huge coping mechanism for me. 

The days I have felt the best are those in which I laughed really hard. Some situations at work are really heavy, but can be lightened with a bit of humor. 

I now treasure the times I go home and am around my dad's pranks, my brother's sarcastic humor and my youngest brother's quick, clever wit. We eat, we laugh, and all is well in life. 

I challenge you to find a way to laugh every day. Whether it's jumping out from behind a door and scaring someone (my personal favorite), or looking up funny Youtube videos, find the humor in this often way-too-sad life.

Choose to surround yourself with people that have a sense of humor and remind you to laugh when you don't remember. Read things that make you laugh. Watch things that crack you up. Listen to things that bring a smile to your face. 

Because as serious, tragic, and sad as this life can be, there's always a time and a place to laugh and smile. 

For all the laughs Dad, thank you. Here's to years more of belly-ache-crying laughs. 

Happy Father's Day! 
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