FHE Idea Material: Humor

Here are several quotes and questions that you can use for an Family Home Evening Lesson. Good luck!

James E. Faust:

“There is…a defense against adversity: humor. A thoughtful man said, ‘There is certainly no defense against adverse fortune which is, on the whole, so effectual as an habitual sense of humor.’”…

“Cultivating good humor may be helpful in finding our own identity. Young people who are trying to find out who they really are often have concerns as to their ability to meet and cope with the challenges that confront them and that lie ahead. They will find that it is easier to ride over the bumps and come quickly to their own identity if they cultivate the good humor that comes naturally. It is important that we all learn to laugh at ourselves…An important dimension in learning to laugh at ourselves lies in not being afraid to make a mistake.

“Our leaders have demonstrated that one can enjoy both faith and humor. It was said of President Heber C. Kimball (1801–68) that he prayed and conversed with God “as one man talketh with another” (Abr. 3:11). However, “on one occasion, while offering up an earnest appeal in behalf of certain of his fellow creatures, he startled the kneeling circle by bursting into a loud laugh in the very midst of his prayer. Quickly regaining his composure and solemn address, he remarked, apologetically: ‘Lord, it makes me laugh to pray about some people.’” (http://lds.org/liahona/2000/03/the-need-for-balance-in-our-lives?lang=eng&query=humor)

Joseph B. Wirthlin:

…Learn to laugh. Have you ever seen an angry driver who, when someone else makes a mistake, reacts as though that person has insulted his honor, his family, his dog, and his ancestors all the way back to Adam? Or have you had an encounter with an overhanging cupboard door left open at the wrong place and the wrong time which has been cursed, condemned, and avenged by a sore-headed victim?

“There is an antidote for times such as these: learn to laugh.

“I remember loading up our children in a station wagon and driving to Los Angeles. There were at least nine of us in the car, and we would invariably get lost. Instead of getting angry, we laughed. Every time we made a wrong turn, we laughed harder.

“Getting lost was not an unusual occurrence for us. Once while heading south to Cedar City, Utah, we took a wrong turn and didn’t realize it until two hours later when we saw the “Welcome to Nevada” signs. We didn’t get angry. We laughed, and as a result, anger and resentment rarely resulted. Our laughter created cherished memories for us.

“I remember when one of our daughters went on a blind date. She was all dressed up and waiting for her date to arrive when the doorbell rang. In walked a man who seemed a little old, but she tried to be polite. She introduced him to me and my wife and the other children; then she put on her coat and went out the door. We watched as she got into the car, but the car didn’t move. Eventually our daughter got out of the car and, red faced, ran back into the house. The man that she thought was her blind date had actually come to pick up another of our daughters who had agreed to be a babysitter for him and his wife.

“We all had a good laugh over that. In fact, we couldn’t stop laughing. Later, when our daughter’s real blind date showed up, I couldn’t come out to meet him because I was still in the kitchen laughing. Now, I realize that our daughter could have felt humiliated and embarrassed. But she laughed with us, and as a result, we still laugh about it today.

The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable. (http://lds.org/general-conference/2008/10/come-what-may-and-love-it?lang=eng&query=come+may+love)

Other Examples of Church Leaders Using Humor in a Talk:

Hugh B. Brown:

One of the general authorities was telling how when he was visiting one of the stakes, he stayed at the home of a stake president with a large family and in that family, as in many LDS families they had the habit of taking turns in offering the evening prayer. On this particular occasion the young girl, 3 years old was praying and she prayed for the stake president and the general authorities and for President McKay who stands on his head in the church. (Father, Are You There? BYU Devotional , October 08, 1967.)

Ardeth G. Kapp:

One evening last year, just before Christmas, my husband, Heber, and I made our way through the deep snow of an unshoveled walk and rang the door-bell. We were immediately greeted by Brent, an eight-year-old boy. He invited us in. We exchanged greetings with others while Brent stood by, anxiously waiting for the first opportunity to pose a question. In a most forthright and direct way, he simply asked, “Have you ever shaken hands with the prophet?”

His eagerness gave me reason to believe that he may have rehearsed that question in his mind several times in anticipation of our visit. “Yes, Brent,” I said, “I have shaken the hand of the prophet.”

“Oh,” he said, “if I could just shake the hand of the prophet.”

Sensing the love and respect Brent obviously felt for our prophet-leader, and wanting to somehow provide a tie between the prophet and the young boy, I reached out my hand. “Brent,” I said, “this hand has shaken the hand of the prophet.” To that offer he grabbed my hand and shook it vigorously. Then, letting go, he turned his right hand over from front to back to examine it thoroughly. “I’ll never wash my hand,” he said.

I suggested that he probably should wash his hand and just keep the memory in his mind. This suggestion was not acceptable to Brent. He had a better idea. “Okay,” he said, “I’ll wash my hand, but I’ll save the water.” That seemed like a good suggestion, although I supposed he was only joking.

A few minutes later, he came into the room carrying a plastic bag dripping with water. Before anyone could question him, he proudly announced, “I washed my hand,” holding the bag full of water for all to see. Brent sat on the floor facing the Christmas tree, his knees poking through his faded blue jeans. From the corner of my eye I watched him examine the bag full of water as if he were expecting to see some evidence that it was holy water.

As we continued visiting, Brent got up and, taking his treasure with him, left the room. He returned again, this time without the plastic bag full of water. He had determined a better solution. Brent stood there in the doorway with his faded gray T-shirt wet all the way down the front. Without hesitation he gave a complete explanation. “I drank the water,” he said. (http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6993)

Thomas S. Monson:

Gordon B. Hinckley:

Discussion Questions: (Questions used from “If We Can Laugh at It, We Can Live with It.” Brad Wilcox, Mar. 2000 Ensign.)

  1. Why is it important to be able to laugh at ourselves? How can this help us cope with adversity?
  2. How can humor benefit our relationships with others? How can it harm our relationships?
  3. In what situations is humor not appropriate?
  4. How can we develop a better sense of humor?
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