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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

Laughter

At one point during a game, the coach called one of his 7-year-old hockey players aside and asked, “Do you understand what cooperation is? What a team is?” The little boy nodded.

“Do you understand that what matters is not whether we win or lose, but how we play together as a team?” The little boy nodded yes.

“So,” the coach continued, “I’m sure you know, when a penalty is called, you shouldn’t argue, curse, attack the referee, or call him bad names. Do you understand all that?” Again the little boy nodded.

He continued, “And when I call you off the ice so that another boy gets a chance to play, it’s not good sportsmanship to call your coach ‘a damn idiot’, is it?” Again the little boy nodded.

“Good,” said the coach. “Now go over there and explain all that to your mother.”

Like I hope many of you did, I took the time over the holidays to relax, refresh, and recharge. I have tried to be very disciplined in not getting swept up in work. Having my second child (of three) graduate this year has helped me to keep that focus. Let me just say that I have thoroughly enjoying being a parent. Time with our three kids, collectively and individually, has taught me many things.

Our family likes to laugh, as our movie selection in our home almost always gravitates to the humorous side.  I can remember reading that science has proven that humor changes our brain chemistry. It releases endorphins that increase our sense of well-being, improve our reasoning powers and make us less sensitive to pain. It makes sense that families who have a healthy sense of humor are more likely to feel good about themselves.

It seems fairly obvious to me that having a sense of humor helps families cope with life’s stressors and crises (of which there are plenty). Laughter is fat-free, salt-free, non-taxable, no cost, environmentally safe, constantly renewable, and does not require batteries and special assembly.

As I contemplate this last article of the year, I have always tried to analyze most events in my life for the deeper meaning. I’m not sure I need to know what the deeper meaning of a laughing family is, but I do know I’ve never enjoyed the laughter more.

The older I get the more I realize that finding the meaning isn’t what is truly important— enjoying the experience is. I’m grateful to my kids for showing me how to laugh through a fresh set of eyes. As I start off another year, I am going to remind myself to look at things as if I’m seeing them for the first time. I know it will produce a year full of enjoyment. Happy New Year!

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