When I began writing these articles more than 12 years ago, I intended to address ways to handle serious family problems. It didn’t take me long to realize that people need a laugh, not a lecture. As I’ve tried to address some of this generation’s shortcomings, I’ve sweetened the medicine with a little honey. And the comment I’ve heard the most through the years is, “You brought some joy into my life.”

I give God all the praise for anything in these articles He uses to touch someone’s life. I also give all the criticism to the recycle bin on my desktop.

On Mother’s Day, a friend of mine, Jerry, read our Sunday School class an e-mail he had received from his brother. We laughed and laughed. I know many of you pastors are already looking for some fresh material for Mother’s Day, 2011. I thought if I put it in the Baptist Messenger early enough, no one in your congregation would remember it by the time this holiday rolls around next year. That way, everyone will brag about their creative pastor. With no further ado, I present “Things My Mother Taught Me.”

1. My mother taught me to appreciate a job well done. “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.”

2. My mother taught me religion. “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

3. My mother taught me about time travel. “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!”

4. My mother taught me logic. “Because I said so, that’s why.”

5. My mother taught me more logic. “If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”

6. My mother taught me foresight. “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

7. My mother taught me irony. “Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

8. My mother taught me about the science of osmosis. “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”

9. My mother taught me about contortionism. “Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck?”

10. My mother taught me about stamina. “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”

11. My mother taught me about weather. “This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.”

12. My mother taught me about hypocrocy. “If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times. Don’t exaggerate!”

13. My mother taught me the circle of life. “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”

14. My mother taught me about behavior modification. “Stop acting like your father!”

15. My mother taught me about envy. “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”

16. My mother taught me about anticipation. “Just wait until we get home.”

17. My mother taught me about receiving. “You are going to get it when you get home!”

18. My mother taught me medical science. “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way.”

19. My mother taught me ESP. “Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?”

20. My mother taught me humor. “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

21. My mother taught me how to become an adult. “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”

22. My mother taught me genetics. “You’re just like your father.”

23. My mother taught me about my roots. “Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”

24. My mother taught me wisdom. “When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”

25. And my favorite: my mother taught me about justice. “One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!”

The first laughter in the Bible came because of family. When Abraham heard from God that he was going to be a father in his old age, “Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of 90?” (Gen. 17:17).

Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” (Gen. 21:6). Sometimes, our families cause us to laugh. Other times, to weep. Often, tears and laughter connect us with each other and with our heavenly Father.

God has made laughter for His children. Ask Him today to create laughter . . . in you.

Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail walker@awestar.org, phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827.