If I had no sense of humour, I would long ago have committed suicide.
~ Mahatma Gandhi ~
Is there any real correlation between higher acquired intelligence (through education) and sense of humour?
Research has it, there is. But maybe not really? Time and again, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars in industrialized countries had been put into various researches trying to figure out the relationship of humour to intelligence and creativity. In researches that are frequently done by psychologists – generally people who are not known to be in a very ‘funny’ industry – the conclusions are usually a combination of some sort of statistical numbers, matrix or fancy graphs, and wordy essays of why there are either spotty or small correlations between the two.
Frankly speaking, I don’t really know much about that correlation, at least not scientifically. But I can never forget about many of the not-so-funny-jokes that got my daughter laughing out loud, sometimes to the border of being hysterical, when she was about three to six years old. I took it as her feeling relieved of having passed the notorious year of The Terrible Twos, when ‘yes’ was a ‘no’ and ‘no’ was obviously also a ‘no’.
“No. I do not want to go to bed. No, I’m not hungry. I don’t like you!”
“So, do you want me to leave the house and leave you alone, and never come back ever again?”
I could understand why for three years afterwards she decided that she was just going to laugh at everything and anything even when I begged her to stop, as her sense of humour began to disturb my sense of tranquillity.
From the age of seven until about 11 years old, my daughter was such bliss. She had the best sense of humour a mother could hope for. Her mother was a goddess that she utterly worshiped. Daily. And not because her mother’s middle name was “Dewi” (goddess), but in her honest opinion her mother was always humorous, forever pretty, and eternally smiling (now I know where I got these wrinkles from).
Or her teacher! Because everyday my daughter also wanted to become like her teacher, with long blond hair parted in the middle, sitting nicely with one leg crossed over the other – and my daughter would act her out. To further my daughter’s educational experiences, her subsequent teachers were also mostly comical, even when I saw that from the more serious educational point of view she didn’t really get much out of her classroom time. But she was honestly a very happy kid.
Teenage years. Four of those years of learning about a sensible and settled sense of humour that made any proud mother, well, proud… for sure my daughter would carry her inner happiness and contagious outer joy all through teenage-hood.
She certainly did. No matter what bright red colours of grades and scores were on her report cards, what was more important was her ability to take life not too seriously. I guess, after all, intelligence cannot always be measured by numbers and the alphabet.
“Mr. Purtee told me that I’m weak at Maths.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I don’t like Maths.”
“Well, if you don’t know Maths, how are you going to figure out all the sales at the Mall? What’s the final price for a 70% off of a nice t-shirt, and if you belong to their Rewards Card you’ll get an extra 10% again?”
My daughter, who’s no longer a teenager and now maturing into adulthood, did not always have it easy. Growing up as her was tough, with huge emotional ups and downs, in a fast moving world transitioning from the 20th to 21st centuries, experiencing multi-cultural lifestyles, and several changes of schools and homes.
During many instances, either she was going to lose her conscious mind, or her mother thought she’d lost all her marbles. But hopefully, that happy and healthy part of her earlier childhood, when simply making a silly face or blowing a raspberry could produce glee, when telling the same jokes would provoke contagious laughter, are part of the reasons that we’re both still standing. Giving children the gift of laughter and humour, experts say can be a very important part of social and intelligence development. After all, there is correlation between education and sense of humour…