My kids are generally pretty nice to each other. Of course, there are the occasional sibling fights that crop up when someone's in a foul mood or has had a bad day and chooses to take it out on those closest to them.
For the most part, they get along great and are friends. The exception being that the older ones would take advantage of the gulibility of the younger ones and taunt them whenever they had the chance. They're still doing this (but that's not important right now).
This usually happened at the dinner table and it went something like this:
- One of the two younger ones, usually Jonathan, tells some sort of joke.
- One of the other siblings: "That's not funny."
This became the biggest insult in our home… for years. "That's not funny," or even worse, "You're not funny."
The highest praise in our family is to get a laugh. So then, the highest goal (especially at dinner time) became to make the other siblings think something was funny. Extra points if you could make them accidentally spit food or pass a liquid through their nose. (I know. Terrible mother. Shut up.)
Believe me, this can be a tough crowd.
Once the Biggest Insult was out there, the un-funny one, sometimes Lucy, but most of the time, Jonathan would kind of do an emotional retreat and come out swinging the next time.
This scene repeated itself over and over on through the years and on many occasions. But, as Nietzsche once famously stated, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." This has been proven true in our quest for the dinner table laugh.
Fast forward to present day. My kids have been hanging with friends and playing Improvisation games for a long time now – it's what all the cool homeschool kids were doing, at least at our house. As an aside, I think each of them has an extremely well-developed sense of humor. I know I'm the mom here, but I promise, it's true.
A couple of years ago, Adam began teaching an Improv class at their high school. Lucy did it last year and this year, Jon collected a group of students to perform as a fundraiser for their drama program.
I know he's my son and everything, but I can genuinely say this with no equivocation: HE. IS. FUNNY.
I guess all that dinner table abuse really paid off. 😉