"Good humor is truly medicine to the soul. Humor can ease tension, relieve uncomfortable or embarrassing situations, change attitudes, generate love and understanding, and add sparkle to life. A properly developed sense of humor is sensitive to others' feelings and is flavored with kindness and understanding." (Family Home Evening Resource Book p. 197) Scripture: A merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Proverbs 17:22 In January of 1847 the Saints endured severe trials at Winter Quarters. They had been brutally forced from their homes and were suffering from cold, starvation, and the loss of loved ones. In the midst of their sorrow came a revelation to help prepare them for their journey west. Read; D&C 136:28-29 Explain that the Lord wants us to feel joy even during hardships and trials. Describe: How a pressure cooker works. ( The sealed pot builds up a tremendous amount of steam inside it in order tospeed up the cooking process. As a safety measure, however, it releases excess steam through a safety valve, which keeps the cooker from exploding.) Point out that pressures and problems can build up in all of us until we feel like exploding in anger or tears. One safety valve the Lord has given us is a sense of humor. Discuss: How can humor release frustrations and put problems in a different light? True story: When we lived in Canada, my dad had to have a clean white shirt evey Sunday morning. (He was the Branch President of our small Vanderhoof Branch.) My mother didn't always have one ready which is understandable because we got all our water out of the creek and things had to be washed by hand. One Sunday morning we were waiting in the car to go to church while mom put the finishing touches on Sunday dinner which would cook while we were away. When mom hurriedly joined us in the car we all looked at why she gasped and ran back into the house. There sat my dad in the car with his Sunday suit on, a tie around his bare neck, and no shirt. My mother said it was the fastest she had ever ironed a white shirt and he always had a clean, pressed white shirt waiting for him in the future. I learned a great lesson that day. Using humor, my dad was able to change behavior without nagging or causing contention in the family. Help family members understand that humor must be appropriate to fulfill its proper purpose. Read the following from Elder Richard L. Evans: "There is both dignified and undignified humor. There is loud-mouthed humor, uncouth humor. There is evil, offensive humor. And there is high-minded. delightful humor." (Richard l. Evans' Quote Book p. 221). Discuss what makes appropriate humor. Stress that humor that degrades, embarrasses or is based on sarcasm or indecent situations is inappropriate. We should never make fun of another's physical indirmities or handicaps, ethnic or racial differences, the sanctity of the body or sacred things. Help family members understand that even people in important positions in the Church see humor in serious matters without making light of spiritual things. We, too, can be light hearted without being light-minded or silly. Assignment: As a family, try to find humor in a problem you are facing right now. Encourage family members to help family members see the humor in future problems. Role-play some possible embarrassing situations and let family members find humor in the situations. (e.g. At a party someone points out that you have on one black shoe and one brown. Possible response: "I have another pair at home just like them.") Possible song: Smiles (Sing With Me p. D-5) Persons of the Week: Bella and Maya Kern for making beautiful St. Patrick's Day cards and sending them to Grandma and Grandpa Kern.