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Why Acting Goofy is Great

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It doesn't take a whole lot to be a little goofy.

When interviewing prospective Brain Highways staff, here’s the first question I ask: On a 1 to 10 scale, how goofy can you get?

So, how would you rate yourself in terms of being goofy? And . . . would that number differ from how others rate you?

Here’s why I think acting goofy at times—clearly, this is not the preferred default mode—is important.

1. When we’re goofy, we’re definitely in our cortex. In other words, it’s pretty much impossible to be goofy while we’re in the primitive, survival parts of our brain.

2. If we welcome being goofy, we probably don’t take ourselves so seriously all the time. That then reminds us and others that no one is perfect.

3. When we’re goofy, it usually prompts others to laugh and smile—and that triggers positive mirror neurons in everyone around us.

4. If we’re goofy in front of others, we probably aren’t real self-conscious or care what others may think.

So, as parents, how can we include more goofiness in our homes?  Here are some favorite ways we had fun being silly when my girls were young.

Backwards Evening

We declared one night our “backwards evening.” After we figured out our names spelled backwards, that’s how we addressed each other (e.g. Jim became Mij). Each family member wore their clothes backwards to dinner, where we (of course) ate dessert first. After dinner, we re-wrote song lyrics so that they were now backwards (last word of the line became the first and so on) and tried singing them that way. We wrapped up the evening by reading the nighttime story from the last page to the first.

House Dress Up

We gathered items, such as shirts, pants, socks, shoes, scarves, hats, headbands, and jewelry to dress the furniture in a room (e.g. socks and shoes were placed on chair legs, hats were placed on top of lampshades, and so on).

Amazing Dog

We promoted a new, fantastic dog show, and then we (as the parents) became “the dogs” while the girls (our owners) taught us new tricks. (Yes, we were down on our hands and knees—and even barked here and there—as we learned to roll over, and more.)

Fifi from France

Oddly, a woman who looked a lot like me—but who had (if truth be known) a terrible French accent and was named Fifi—seemed to show up when the girls had friends over for lunch. Of course, Fifi loved to serve people their food as she told them of her days in France. (She was so popular that my girls’ friends often inquired if Fifi would be serving them when they came over.)

Human Christmas Tree and Presents

First, the kids made homemade wrapping paper from long pieces of butcher paper. We also made a large green paper pancho-like tarp that we put over my husband, who was designated to be the human tree.

Next, we wrapped the part of his legs that were still showing in brown paper. Combining both homemade and store-bought ornaments, we decorated our novel tree, complete with lights and an angel on top of his head.

After that, we wrapped the human presents (the kids and their friends) in the paper they had created so that just their heads and feet showed.  We placed the human presents under the human tree, and turned off the lights, pretending it was Christmas Eve. After a few minutes, we turned the lights back on, declared it was Christmas morning, and the human presents burst out of their paper!  Oh, and by the way, we did this in . . . July (just adds more to the goofiness).

Okay, so can you picture yourself doing any or all of the above?  If not (and you’d like to bring a little more goofiness into your home), you may have been raised in a house where acting silly and goofy was frowned upon. Without realizing it, you may have now inadvertently passed on that subconscious message to your own kids.

But that’s hardly etched in stone.  Any family can have a backwards evening, dress up furniture, teach (parent) dogs new tricks, be served by a foreigner with an accent, and create a crazy Christmas in the middle of summer.

And that’s just the beginning. The list of potential ways to be goofy and fun is endless.  In fact, you may be surprised to discover that you have a lot of dormant goofiness— just waiting for a chance to surface.

 

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