Sutherland: Find a route to laughter

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boy laughing

There are four sayings that I keep close at hand at all times.

“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape many days of sorrow.”

“Don’t let your tongue cut your throat.”

“How others treat me is their path, how I react is mine.”

“Live this day so that it will one day be one of your good old days.”

All four of the above are written by anonymous, but obviously wise, individuals. Several months ago, my hubby and I were in a small store and listened to a mother ranting and raving at her adolescent child.

The mother was obviously way beyond angry, and she berated her young daughter for everything from her bad manners to her horrible attitude, which included being “an ungrateful brat.” The tirade was loud and long and filled with an incredible dose of venom.

A much younger sibling was lauded for being the good child, while the older one was threatened with punishment over and over again. I still shudder at the memory, unable to shake it. I was the lucky one — I could walk away.

I keep thinking of that young girl who felt the red, hot stare of shocked strangers, and who had to finish out her day (not to mention the rest of her life) with such an angry mother. I will forever wish I had intervened, and blame myself for letting total shock derail me. I should have thought of something sweet or silly to say or do for that young girl, and I will forever regret my silence.

We are all set down upon this Earth for a reason. Finding that reason can prove to be one long, tough journey. While we are all placed here together, it only makes sense to me to try to be good to one another, try to learn from each other, finding reasons to rejoice together and to find the good along the way.

Even the simplest of avenues, like a goofy joke, is one way of diffusing a tense situation. Families with young children are surely feeling the strain of this quarantine from a worldwide pandemic; my advice is to find a route to laughter with one another every single day.

Dress up, hold a dance party, imitate a star, make up games, change your names, be bold or colorful or simply silly. Ah, life is good. No matter who you are or how old you are, these will someday be the days we look back on as the good old days. Do everything possible to make them so.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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