"It is possible to live so that others can trust us--can trust our words, our motives, and our actions. Our examples are vital to those who sit at our feet as well as those who watch from a distance. Our own constant self-improvement will become as a polar star to those within our individual spheres of influence. They will remember longer what they saw in us than what they heard from us. Our attitude, our point of view, can make a tremendous difference."Gordon B. Hinckley
This is why years ago I quit the practice of teasing. Too often it held a grain of truth that bit sharply along with a cruel lie. At first, I thought this would decrease the laughter surrounding us. Instead, I found it swelled as all could join in the fun as our fingers ceased to point at one in the group. We also are careful not to say one thing to try and get our children to do another for in this we teach manipulation and dishonesty.
Now if I'm going to make fun of someone, it is most likely to be myself and I'll be the one laughing the hardest. Am I perfect in this virtue of honesty, hardly, but I am trying to improve, especially in being honest with myself.
This does not mean that we don't laugh at things that others might think are cruel or irreverent. We have a quirky sense of humor. When our ninety year old grandma died, some of the grandsons were having a race behind the hearse. Something my grandma would have laughed at and shook her head. Us girls met in Grandma's house after the funeral. We all thought we had been Grandma's favorite grandchild and we went through her belongings dividing them up. Some of the neighbors whispered, "Well, she's not even cold in the ground yet and look at the greedy family going through her stuff."
It is one of the highlights of my memories as we caressed her treasured and everyday things. We spend hours sharing memories, many things were learned that day about our sweet Grandma we didn't know. If more than one person wanted a belonging to remember her by, their names were put in a hat and a name drawn. We even played dress up like we had when we were children in her home. Oh how we laughed and cried and celebrated her life. She had lived a rich long one full of family and love.
Another example, when our oldest had Belles Palsy on the right side of her face. We got the greatest kick out of it. One side of her face would smile and the other not. One side the eyebrow would raise and the other not. At first, it was very difficult for our oldest. She was a teenager at the time. We began to affectionately call her our little Bellsy and loved it when she'd show us the quirks of the disease. She didn't mind because she knew we loved her with all our hearts no matter what she looked like and laughter is contagious which eased her pain. To us she was as beautiful as ever just with a little pizazz thrown in.
In time, she learned to laugh at herself and most of all she learned that if she pretended that nothing was out of the ordinary, very few people would have the guts to ask her what's wrong, even those who had known her for years. A funny look may cross their face but it would quickly disappear and they'd pretend all was normal. The great lesson was learned by us all that if our daughter excepted herself, others excepted her also.
She was blessed in that the symptoms lessened and then vanished over the course of the next year. The most noticeable ones within a few months. Meanwhile, our little Bellsy brought much joy and learning to us all during that year. Laughter ruled over a difficult situation.
So if you hear me laughing, it might be because I've rather laugh than cry and each day I'm trying to be more honest than the day before so that our children and grandchildren can know that what I say I mean. And, what I do I'm trying to set an example though it may be imperfect like me.