Saturday, December 4, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
One of the greatest fears that we have is the fear of being laughed at. Speech classes usually begin with the recognition that many people would rather die then give a speech. No one likes to be the brunt of ridicule and bullies know this. The prevalence of cruel teasing usually increases at the middle school level. The dark humor of sarcasm, mockery and ridicule are controlling tactics used by bullies to manipulate their victims.
Negative humor is often used to express frustration, hostility and anger. If one feels inferior, laughing at others becomes a way to feel superior and this heinous laughter become a weapon in the hands of stressed unhappy individuals.
Bullies are often adept at using negative humor to manipulate others. Control and power are their goals. Humor that is sarcastic, cynical, or mocking results in the recipient feeling helpless and vulnerable. So humor can become a powerful weapon of the bully, when used with the intentional purpose of wounding another person.
Bully behavior is frequently portrayed in the media as an acceptable method to express frustration, hostility, fears and anger. The use of mockery and sarcasm allows the venting of anger. Jokes abound on television, movies and the Internet with the express purpose of making fun of others. Our fears of differences have often been expressed in jokes about Italians, Jews, Mexicans, gays and religious entities. While often clever, these jokes perpetuate the bully mindset that it is OK to make fun of individuals or groups. There is research to suggest that this type of humor can eventually lead to violent behavior.
It is difficult to deal with bullying humor because these individuals often turn the tables when confronted with their negative behavior. They will say things like “Can’t you take a joke?” “I was just kidding!” This is a clever ploy intended to defend the bullying behavior and insinuate that the other person does not have a sense of humor. The fear of being accused of not having a sense of humor is close to the fear of being made fun of.
Please feel free to share ways that you have found helpful to confront the negative humor of bullies. Bullying behavior is prevalent in the news today, but I have not seen much on the negative humor as a weapon of choice by bullies. I will be sharing ideas and resources in subsequent blogs.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
We tend to pay too much attention to the pervasive message in the media. I certainly do not need to tell you that the economy is in the pits. Jobs are scarce and poverty is rising. Gosh darn it!
ALERT: We can make the difference in the lives of others by doing good for nothing. Every day I read through my social media outlets about my colleagues who purposefully promote smiling, humor, laughter and joy. This is what I have identified as humergy in my book, Using Humor to Maximize Learning. Humergy emerges from the joy and optimism of our inner spirite. It promotes enegy and enthusiasm for life.
Most of us realize that when we do "good for nothing" - there are rewards. There is current research supporting the fact that our brain reward center receives a generous dose of "feel good" chemicals when we share humor and laughter with others.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Within the last 5 years there have been numerous brain science studies that show a direct correlation between the emotions and memory. If you think about what you remember from grade school, chances are your strongest memories are tied to very strong emotional events. Fear is one of our strongest emotions for a very good reason. It protects us from harm. Excess fear can cause stress. Unfortunately this stress has been shown to inhibit learning (Sapolski 1998).
On the other hand. research on the positive emotions is pretty compelling. Barbara Fredrickson from the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill developed the Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions to explain the mechanics of how positive emotions were important to survival. According to this theory, the positive emotions expand cognition and behavioral tendencies. Several other studies indicate that strong positive emotions facilitate the learning process- again, we remember that which has a strong emotional context.
Several additional studies show that humor is a great vehicle for nurturing the positive emotions and helping to put information into the long-term memory.
Another fascinating development from brain science indicates l other factors that are impelling reasons to integrate humor in the learning process.
1. We learn with our entire bodies—not just with our ears. The traditional auditory lecture is not a very effective way to facilitate learning. Purposeful games, directed play and physical activity are much more effective ways to aid memory and learning. The trick is to engage students in the learning process. We learn much more when we are actively involved because the brain is firing on many levels.
2. We cannot learn if we are not paying attention. A joke, laughter and fun are attention getters. Humor wakes up the brain!
3. Humor creates a relaxed learning environment. Fun is actually conducive to creating a stress-free learning environment.
4. The number one characteristic that students want in a teacher is a sense of humor
Never take life too seriously, you won’t get out alive.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Funeral home personal really do have a sense of humor. There is a sign in front of a funeral home that says; "Slow down--we'll wait!" Another posted a sign that said, "We would rather do business with 1000 Al Qaeda terrorists than with a single American."
How do they help folks decide what to put on the gravestones? Did you ever think about what you want on your tombstone? Is there anyone who would like to use a little humor? Here are some classic humorous headstones:
"Having a great time-wish you were here."
"I told you I was sick"
"I knew this was going to happen to me"
"Beneath this stone my wife doth lie
Now she's at rest and so am I"
"It was a cough that carried him off
It was a coffin they carried him off in"
"I made a lot of deals in my lifetime
but I sure went into the hole on this one"
This is all grave humor! I inherited this propensity for finding the funny in death and dying. Whenever we drive by a cemetery, I am reminded of my father who always--and I mean ALWAYS--said, " I hear people are dying to get there" This was always followed by, "That's the last place I want to go." Of course I am carrying on this tradition to the chagrin of my family. I suspect that they will eventually teach this to their kids. Good traditions never die.......ops--did I really say that they NEVER die?
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Wikipedia has more great information on Yogi Berra including details on his baseball career and the fact that Yogi Bear was supposedly named after him.
But his Yogiisms are what I really wanted to share in the hope that you laugh as much as I did!
"When you come to a fork in the road-take it."
"I really didn't say anything I said."
"A nickel isn't worth a dime today."
"I made a wrong mistake."
"The other teams could make trouble for us if they win."
"The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase."
On why he no longer went to Ruggeri's, a St. Louis restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."
One of the most famous, "It ain't over till it's over."
"If the fans don't come out to the ball park, you can't stop them."
Once, Yogi's wife Carmen asked, "Yogi, you are from St. Louis, we live in New Jersey, and you played ball in New York. If you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried?" Yogi replied, "Surprise me."
But this has to be my favorite quote: "Be sure to go to other people's funerals or else they won't come to yours!'
So-- I will go to your funeral if you come to mine!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
“Worrying is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere.” Unknown
A sense of humor can create a remarkable feeling of control over one’s life. Learning to use humor as a lens for life challenges can increase confidence in one’s own internal ability to adapt. The optimistic energy that comes from humor enables individuals to embrace difficulties with resilience. Some individuals purposefully use laughter to ease pain and promote physical healing. There is some experimental research indicating that laughter/humor might actually cure illness and may provide effective therapies for numerous disorders. Some claim that laughter relieves pain, reduces stress, and improves the immune system response. (Harvey, 1998) Although these studies are preliminary, and no firm conclusions can be made as yet, many of the findings are encouraging as to the benefits and applications of positive humor.
Got stress? The purposeful use of humor can help you feel more optimistic about your life, knowing that you can choose how to respond to stress. Humor elevates mood and has been known to be a deterrent to depression. Stress reduction is considered to be one of the most important benefits of humor. A little humor will go a long way in helping educators balance the current focus on accountability, testing, standards and unfunded mandates.
This is an exerpt from my book, "Using Humor to Maximize Learning"
There are numerous benefits derived from humor. Humor is an oft overlooked skill that has many benefits. These include providing stress relief, maximizing brain capacity for learning, increasing creativity, improving communication skills and creating an environment of trust. Humor is inseparable from our whole being. It is intrinsically woven into our emotional and social psyche reflecting our ethics and belief systems.
The numerous definitions of humor include that which makes one laugh or what is amusing. However, a sense of humor is the capacity of a human being to respond to life challenges with optimistic amusement. There is a synergy that is evident in people who have such an optimistic sense of humor.
Humergy is the energy that radiates the joyful optimism of our inner spirit, reflects our unique personality, and nourishes a healthy mind/body balance. (Morrison 2004)
Note---Several above passages are excerpts from my book:
Using Humor to Maximize Learning
Friday, August 27, 2010
For years I have believed and taught about Learning Through Play in my workshops on brain research and learning. My original training as an early childhood teacher made a powerful impact on my philosophy and as I learn more about brain science, stress and humor, I am convinced that play is a critical key to a healthy lifestyle. Play is especially important in the learning process and not just for early elementary students, but for ALL learners including high school and adults.
However, play is a four letter word. The very mention of play to a group of teachers will often produce visible signs of anxiety with verbal comments such as, "We just don't have time for frivolous activity" or "We are serious about learning here at SMART High School" Play is even being taken out of the kindergarten curriculum in many schools as related in this article in Science Daily; All Work and No Play. There are reports of schools being built without playgrounds---so pervasive is the mindset that play is the opposite of having learning.
We learn best through movement, strong emotions and yes--through play! Yet in every educator workshop on stress that I facilitate, teachers share their concerns about the decrease in time for play, the increased amount of stress they observe and how they know this stress is negatively impacting student learning.
According to an article by Susan Shepardson in Play; Priceless: "Psychologists believe that changes in children’s play have negatively impacted cognitive and emotional development. Because children’s activities are now more regulated by adults, children are not able to practice regulating them. Self-regulation is a crucial developmental task. Developmental neuroscience research provides evidence that free-play actually helps children develop a critical cognitive skill called executive function"
So make today a PLAY DAY and have fun with this four letter word!
For more research links on play and learning go to the links on my Humor Quest web site
Friday, August 20, 2010
When we fear something-like getting older-humor is an effective coping skill. We laugh about the things that we are afraid of. As boomers start the aging process, the humorous emails about aging are becoming more frequent in my "In Box". Here are a few of my favorites:
"I made a cover for my hearing aid and now I have what they call blue teeth, I think"
"I am retired. I was tired yesterday and I am tired again today".
"I'm so old that when I eat out, they ask for my money up front".
"Your secrets are safe with your friends, because they can't remember them either."
This is my own actual joke....or maybe not!
"My daughter calls at 9:00 p.m. and asks, "did I wake you up?" Actually you did honey....but I am so glad you called!
Actually, I really do love this time in my boomer life......10 grandchildren and the freedom to pursue my interests incuding education and humor! What more could a sports injured body ask for?
Oh yeah----a recent ad that I saw------" Cremation? Think outside the box!"
Sunday, August 8, 2010
The first chapter has such powerful insights into what we are learning about the brain. She says that the brain has an amazing capacity to create joy not by chance, but by choice. Is this true? Can we just "think" ourselves out of depression and bad moods?
Mellin entices us to read how to use your consciousness to create ripples of pleasure in your body. BUT the pleasure cannot be about anything that one acquires, ingests or injects. So shopping, food and alcohol might bring momentary pleasure but not true joy.
According to Mellin most stress is caused by having too many stress circuits and too few joy circuits. She advocates EBT, Emotional Brain Training, a recognition of the possible 5 different brain states that one might be experiencing and how to change the circuits to a higher level state. I find this book to be a great resource.
As I prepare for several upcoming workshops on the role of stress in learning, I will include this book as a resource for participants along with Dr. Earl Henslin's book, This Is Your Brain On Joy His book includes images of a stressed brain and a peaceful brain. Brain imaging technology is adding an incredible amount of information to our knowledge base.
So as I was in a perfectly awful mood on one day last week......I decided to try to choose joy. It was difficult but the process was interesting.....and eventually I hope to live more often in level I and 2 as described by Mellin and be kinder to myself when I am stressed.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
This past week as part of the program, there was a dynamic study group conversation (via a conference call) facilitated by advisor Linda MacNeal. We discussed chapter one and two of my book, Using Humor to Maximize Learningg. The question was about Maslow's hierarchy of needs scale and the use of humor.
What kind of humor do you have when basic needs are not being met versus when things are going well? if you are stressed is your sense of humor different from when "life is great"?
The conversations included observations that stressed folks use "coping humor" versus "playful humor" during good times.
As a result of this conversation, I am going to observe how my humor practice might change according to how well my needs are being met.
My joyful wish for you today; May your humor be playful!
Monday, July 26, 2010
All of a sudden the beautiful pictures of the water filled streets of Holland began to look downright ugly. I will never be able to look at boats on the canals of Holland without a shudder and a memory of feeling powerless against some unknown person who decided to worm into my life. I wondered if they ever find these intruders.....and if they ever end up in prison....
SPAMMER ARRESTED; Found the Holland Street Spammer today, she was caught as she was trying to navigate the murky waters of the another spam scheme. Judge Judy sentenced her to a life sentence of fixing spam on politician computers.
My anti-spam device = friends, colleagues and my dear patient husband who finally cleaned got rid of the Holland spammer.
So when you are spammed.....Ham it up!
My wish for you:
May your spams be light today and your hams be many!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
As I shared the importance of humor in the teaching process, I was overwhelmed by the experience of the over 100 educators in the room, and even more amazed when I realized how many people had been taught and loved by these folks. There were numerous comments by folks encouraging me to continue to reach as many young teachers as possible with the message of the importance of joyful teaching and the use of humor.
Very affirming and inspirational day!
Sunday, July 11, 2010
I am a retired educator and for the past 20 years, I have been facilitating workshops on a wide variety of topics related to humor and stress. Two years ago, I published a book, "Using Humor to Maximize Learning" based on what I had learned from the participants in my sessions combined with intensive study. The book details the benefits of humor, what to do with humordoomers and how to improve one's humor practice.
As I have redone my web site, I have been encouraged by colleagues to start this humor blog......so we are off on our quest to find humor, fun laughter and joy.
Quote of the day:
Today's might oak is just yesterday's nut that held it's ground!