Eden - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on February 19, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

People always say that laughter is the best medicine. It is free, relatively painless to take, and can cure more than one person at a time with just one healthy dose. Scientifically, doctors have proven that laughter can help lower cholesterol and even help hospital patients recover from surgery faster. Personally, laughter drives my inspiration and provides my motivation in everything that I do. I believe in the power of laughter.

I laugh. A lot. Unfortunately, there are other people in this world that do not live in environments that provoke laughter. Last year, I volunteered to organize the reenactment of the Polar Express for over 50 underprivileged kids on a Chicago Metra train. Many of these kids are not financially capable of celebrating the holidays like my family does, with presents, a Christmas tree, and a huge holiday dinner. As a result, many of the kids on the train were skeptical of the Polar Express and were cynical about the concept of Santa Claus. As I and other high school volunteers invited them to sing Christmas carols and participate in arts and crafts, however, the kids began to laugh and enjoy themselves. The kids could not even control their excitement when “Santa” made a special appearance and handed out presents to all the nice kids (and a few pieces of “coal” to the naughty volunteers). When the volunteers got off the train at the end of the trip, the children stopped us and gave each one of us a hug and a smile. Hearing these kids laugh was one of the main reasons why I continue to volunteer.

My family takes the idea of laughter seriously. Though the age difference between my oldest sister and my youngest cousin is 15 years, we are able to play games together because of our similar love for laughing. One such game that we play is the “Ha Ha” game, where all nine of us “kids” place our heads on each other’s stomach and say the word, “Ha.” Whoever laughs first loses. Even though I am 17 years old, I still cannot beat my 6-year-old cousin at that game.

Laughter is the precursor to the all the right solutions. It is the ultimate symbol of hope. Though everyone might have different aspirations and different personalities, our ability to laugh is what unites us all.