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Monday, March 12, 2012

Laugh at Clowns

I don't remember when exactly it began, but as a child I  collected clowns: ceramics, paintings, music boxes and stuffed dolls.  My mother bought them for me for birthdays and Christmas. My room was covered with clowns. But oddly, my mother feared them. She found clowns creepy and disturbing and most importantly, sad. Once when I was a child I told her that when I grew up I wanted to be a clown and perform in the circus. My mother informed me that clowns lived a very sad life and that their smile was simply painted on. Deep down, they were lonely and sad and away from their families. Kinda ruined that dream real quick. 

However, years later, when I was studying to be a counselor we were asked to write down who we admired and why. I wrote about clowns. I said I admired them because they were able to maintain smiles and fun even though, according to my mother, they were really sad and lonely. I felt, at the time, that was a real sense of resiliency and because of that, I admired clowns.  I learned through my professor's lesson that often times the person we admire and the characteristics for which we admire them becomes a part of us and who we try to emulate in life. I could certainly relate as that was a somewhat turbulent time in my life, though none of my colleagues or students would ever have known it. I came to school with a smile on my face and was always trying to be the class clown...even as the teacher. 

Though I stopped collecting clowns once I became an adult, I still kept a few of the clowns my mother gave me. At times when I am feeling a bit nostalgic or melancholy, I turn to the clown on my nightstand and listen to the music box melody. It reminds me to smile and laugh despite whatever has me saddened at the moment. After all, the clowns did it for centuries. I certainly can do it!

If your children aren't creeped out by clowns like my mother was, maybe a little clown decoration in their room can be a subtle reminder to keep on smiling and laughing despite the challenges and obstacles they are facing. 

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