We kicked off our first Summer Learning week with Laughter & Fun as the topic to set the tone for an enjoyable summer break. We brainstormed some ideas as a family and this is what we came up with:
– See a funny movie (Despicable Me 2 was hilarious!)
– Water balloon fight (we blew up 20 but the toddler smashed them all before we could have a proper battle. We’ll try again soon)
– Pull off a prank (this one is still in the works….)
– Dance Party (we shook our booties in the living room to Macklemore, The Black Eyed Peas and Robin Thicke)
– Sleep outside in the tent (too hot but planned for this week if it cools down)
– Learn some good clean jokes (Why did the spider cross the road? To get to his web site!)
Although we didn’t hit everything on our list, we did have a mostly enjoyable week as the kids and I settled in to our new routine of spending a lot more time together (translation: the first few days were frustrating and challenging dealing with the incessant fighting. Arghhh!)
However, we are getting into a good groove now and the battles have eased off considerably. One thing that really stood out for me was how much time we spent with family and friends over the course of the week and how much that contributed to our overall happiness. There were unexpected playdates that turned into 6 kids splashing around in the pool and sleepover parties that led to late night giggle fests. We had guests pop by to sip Prosecco and chat into the evening and we spent a wonderful weekend at our good friend’s cottage playing on the beach, attempting a myriad of water sports and soaking up the sun.
Did you know research has shown that social connection is one of the key factors that contributes life satisfaction, health and well-being? In The Happiness Advantage, author Shawn Achor writes that “studies from Harvard show strong relationships with family and friends are so powerful that there is actually a correlation between happiness and social connection of 0.7, significantly higher than the correlation between smoking and cancer. Social connection can be as predictive of your longevity as high blood pressure, obesity and smoking.”
And in his NY Times Bestselling book Younger Next Year, Chris Crowley observes “We were designed to be emotional creatures and, sure enough, we are. We were built to work and live in close connection. We are built to care deeply about one another. Get isolated and you will literally get sick. Not just unhappy… sick. A guy who has a heart attack and goes home to an empty house is four times as likely to have a second heart attack and die, as a man who goes home to a family. The guy with a dog does twice as well. We are not built for being alone. You may think you are, but no. We are mammals, at the core.”
Overall, I thought we ended the week with some good lessons for all of us:
1. Remember to lighten up, laugh and have fun as much as humanly possible – life is too darn short to be grumpy all the time
2. Water balloons + 3 year olds = trouble
3. Just simply changing your situation (going to a movie, cranking up some music and shaking your bootie, calling a friend, taking a walk) can change your mood and give you much-needed perspective when you are feeling down or blue
4. It is vitally important to carefully nurture your relationships with friends and family over the course of your lifetime
5. Don’t be afraid to reach out when you need a shoulder to cry on.. or someone to test out your latest joke!
In the true spirit of Laughter and Fun week, I’ll leave you with a video that our fun-loving Chatham pals first shared with us a few weeks ago. Who knew a Kmart commercial could be so hilarious?! I hope it gives you a good laugh. (Parents – watch it first before you show the kids in case you find the language too off-colour to share.)
*email subscribers – you may need to go to my site at www.lorileighwilson.com to view the video.