The world has been pretty dang serious as of late.
We know this. We are aware that things are not good in the world, and no it’s not because it’s 2018. It’s not a date on the calendar’s fault, it’s humanity’s fault.
And it’s not the first time in history that this is the case. Believe me, I’m a history teacher.
However, we are in an age of being hyper-aware. Information and news are constantly at our fingertips. Even as an event is taking place, we have footage of the incident.
Before I can tell my students about something that occurred they blurt out, “Miss Stewart did you hear about what Kanye West said? Did you hear about North Korea and South Korea?” (Little unknown fact: 8th graders talk A LOT about North Korea.)
And shortly after 17 students lost their lives in Parkland, FL, my own students watched horrible, traumatic videos filmed by survivors. Videos that even contained footage of those shot lying on the floor.
Deafening shots. Violent screams. Family members and friends are gone.
For so many days after, I could only talk to my students about the events. I couldn’t begin to process with adults. All I wanted to do was sit with my students, cry with them, encourage them, and try to promise them that we will seek towards a better world. That we love them, and we will protect them.
With all this, I’ve come to see we need two things: a big hug & a good laugh.
Why aren’t we laughing more? Why is life so serious all. the. time.
Certainly, at times, it needs to be. We have to be serious and have those tough conversations. We need to discuss school shootings, gun policies, immigration, racism, women’s rights, the environment, and so on. Of course. Those conversations are so unbelievably important.
But doesn’t life also need to be funny at times? Don’t we need laughter? Now more than ever we need good humor as much as we need air.
8th graders are seriously funny. They can be leaders of political justice one minute and make a joke about certain bodily functions the next. Oh, the joys.
Yes, I cried in front of my students when they have asked me what I would do if someone came into our classroom with the intention of hurting them. And also yes, we have laughed. Every day. Every class period, we have laughed at one point or another.
Like with the kid who says he often massages his grandmother’s cankles.
Or the boy who loves going over the starters each day and pretending he’s the teacher.
When my co-teacher starts singing Celine Dion.
Ya know, all the best of life. We need this. We need the funny and the serious. We need tears in our eyes and bending over in laughter. We need the current event stories and the ridiculous Snapchat filters.
We need to seek goodness and create goodness. Let’s take a note from middle schoolers, and start being funny.