This I Believe

Karen - Bartlett, Illinois
Entered on October 15, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Gandhi once said that there are only two kinds of power, one is the fear of punishment, the other is acts of love. I can’t help but disagree with Gandhi on the items in this list, having to add one more kind of power: the power of laughter.

All my life I have had people around me who know the value of humor. Life is bland without humor, and expressions are intimidating when people never crack a smile. My family laughs often, which strengthens each bond I have. I gain a respect for relatives though humor that leads to more valuable, sincere relationships.

I have been to funerals that have been hard for me to accept, but after mourning my family comes together to share memories and we begin to laugh together. Once the humor starts, it is a powerful force. It can’t be stopped. My tattoo artist uncle and my traditional Italian grandmother are both united by a single infectious action, laughter. My relatives never fail to make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts, whether we are at a dinner table or a funeral. Even in the midst of grief and shock there is always time to congregate. There is always time to laugh together and make memories and jokes that bring us closer. Humor and the act of laughing remind me that there is always another side to every situation, and another side to every person. Laughter fills me with a momentary content as dense as apple pie.

I believe in laughter itself.

I believe that it is the most powerful resource that humans possess, and that it should not be conserved. Unrestricted laughter is a form of energy, transferring from human to human, revitalizing life into people who are stressed, drained, or simply stubborn. I believe humor unites people, bulldozing over generation gaps and racial divisions.

Laughter is a wonder of the world when it is seen in its full intensity. I experienced that intensity when I saw my favorite comedian at a live show last year. Distinguished businessmen and middle aged women with solemn faces all lost control of themselves, slapping their legs, crying, and losing their breath. I saw a hidden side of the strangers I sat next to that I am sure their coworkers have never seen. Laughter unites completely unrelated people, and unties the stressed knots of everyday life.

I believe that the talent of making people laugh is a powerful talent. It is a gift to be a humorous person, a gift that can be shared with others through every small action. When I can make someone laugh I feel as if I have let something precious into the world. I try to make people laugh as often as possible; this motivates me to improve myself. If there is one thing I never forget, it is to keep my sense of humor close by. Every person has the power to change humanity in small ways that count using the power of laughter.