Laughter is the Best Medicine

Home Stager with

About a year ago, my father-in-law passed away from cancer. For his final months, we helped as much as we could - spending much of our time and energy on caregiving and travel.

We knew it would be difficult, but what we didn't expect was the effect it would have on our kids.

At first, they did really well. But soon we started seeing obvious behavior issues. Uncharacteristic bursts of anger started becoming common. As did defiance.

(Not only were mom and dad's focus elsewhere, but they were also coping with death for the first time.)

And I didn't know what to do.

I tried rewards. I tried praise. And I tried consequences. But nothing changed.

Until one night, I realized: when the heck was the last time we laughed together?

I honestly couldn't remember.


In that moment, the best interest of our family may just be to.....lighten up. Laugh. Smile.

And so, we played a game and laughed until our bellies hurt.

And then we made a promise to have more tickle fights, read more bedtime stories for kids, and make more jokes.

Gosh, you know what happened?

I got my kids back. (Shockingly fast too)

You see, our culture often puts "fun" and "play" on the back burner, but we forget that it's the backbone of happiness.

And it's a lesson I'll never forget.

Comments (17)

Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Jennifer- what a great idea. I wonder if children want to laugh or smile but are afraid to because everyone else around them is sad and solemn. 

May 10, 2022 07:52 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Yes. There are times when perhaps we think it is inappropriate to laugh, smile, and enjoy life. But it never is. Even the person who would soon be departing might want to laugh a bit.

It is SO hard to know what to do / how to behave in a situation like that.

I'm glad you got your kids back!

May 10, 2022 08:38 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

LOVE this post.  And I'm very surprised you don't have more comments.  Laughter and the lack thereof are so important in today's stress-filled world.  Definitely worthy of a re-blog!  

May 11, 2022 04:02 PM
Ray Henson

Thank you for sharing this one, Jan Green.  I would never have seen it and it was a message that I sure needed to see. 

May 11, 2022 04:17 PM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

I do not know if I could have come up with such a wonderful solution to such a difficult situation.  Congratulations and very well done.

May 11, 2022 04:16 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I'm so happy Jan reblogged this post. What a wonderful way to improve the atmosphere resulting from a difficult situation. Excellent post and idea. Laughter is a must.

May 12, 2022 05:03 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

The Lesson becomes a Truth!  Laughter is the BEST Medicine to anything that ails you.

May 13, 2022 10:30 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

May 14, 2022 06:59 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for sharing this experience.

Have a great day and an outstanding week.

May 15, 2022 05:05 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Jennifer. "Fun" and "play" can take our mind off of pressing events. They are the release valves of the pressure cooker called life! Enjoy your day.

May 15, 2022 05:50 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Jennifer - laughter and positive thoughts are contagious.  I like Kathy Streib 's first comment.  I think it is spot on.

May 15, 2022 06:02 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Over the years, I have seen huge behavior shifts in kids when their parents get divorced.  Divorce is a lot like someone passing.  You make some great points.  Often, parents are suffering from their own grief and don't pick up on the signs. You have done a great service to your family.  Having fun is the best medicine and you figured it out.

May 15, 2022 07:55 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Jennifer Kropf this is such a wise, wise post!  I have found that laughter heals a lot of situations and helps to keep happiness flowing, even in the hardest of times.  Seeing the light in every situation can work wonders and create miracles.  Thank you!

May 15, 2022 11:21 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Jennifer, that's good advice for all of us. Our family has seen a lot of death in the past few years. It has been hard to laugh at times, but when we all get together it flows and we are better for it.

May 15, 2022 12:43 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Jennifer Kropf  What a beautiful story, sometimes we forget that things hit children, even harder than they do us. You handled it perfectly with the best medicine laughter .May God Bless  - So glad Kathy Streib featured as I missed this 

May 15, 2022 01:05 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate Brokered by Real - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

It really is that simple Jennifer! We will be tested time and again with saying our goodbyes to loved ones but remember to nurture those that remain here. Thank you for sharing a part of yourself here with us!

May 15, 2022 06:54 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Jennifer,

Joy & grief are both part of life. Great that you remembered to focus on the positive attention version to bring your family back into balance. Continuing to live does not mean your are forgetting the person, who passed. In fact, see if you can remember fun things you did with him and the children, so they can turn to fond memory mode.

May 16, 2022 05:45 AM
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

Absolutely love this. My grandson has moments of frustration and I realized we need to help him deal with those moments in a good way. So, this week we are now using singing to get through his frustrations. I pick him up and we start singing songs he likes, which always bring a smile to his face and the frustration is forgotten.

May 16, 2022 01:42 PM