Finding the good in ADHD, Part 2: Sense of Humor

[Sense of hu-mor, n. points out funny actions, objects, and situations in classroom; laughs at weird moments; makes inappropriate comments; good at entertaining themselves.]

Bill Cosby has said that he doesn’t tell jokes; he takes real-life situations and finds the funny in them. As life zooms by, those of us with ADHD, have been blessed with the lightning-fast minds to do just that, find the funny in life. Comedy is a large part of my speaking presentations. I love to laugh and see people laugh. When I was a kid, I found it hard not to want to point out some of the things I saw around me, at school, at home or on the street that I thought were really funny. My desire was to spread the joy I received from noticing things that most people missed. This unfortunately caused some issues with my the subjects of my observations and especially at school, I got reprimanded a lot. A major turning point for me came when one of my teachers, who enjoyed my sense of humor, encouraged me to think about the timing and delivery of my humor. He said, “Ben if you want people to enjoy your humor, you need to ask this question: Is this an appropriate time to be funny? If it is, then let her rip. If not, then tame the tongue.”

To this day I use that sound advice and constantly challenge myself to be serious when it is time to be serious and to be funny when it’s time to be funny. One of my favorite books says that there is a time and season for everything; I just need to make sure that I’m in the right season at the right time. Another valuable lesson I have learned regarding humor involves the appropriateness of my humor’s content. Is my joke suitable? Is there any possibility that it could be offensive to someone? Is it at someone’s expense? Being an impulsive person I have hurt a lot of people by speaking before thinking. Humor should be a tool to induce fun and enjoyment for everyone and not a tool to inflict embarrassment and pain to anyone. Sure, as a comic, I’d like to always “leave em laughin'” but never by making them cry or feel uncomfortable.

I am thankful for this teacher’s guidance and directness with me. He helped me understand how to use my sense with wisdom and sensitivity. Humor is such a powerful expression and with kind, but timely guidance and encouragement children with ADHD can certainly learn how to harness this skill to their great advantage.

Published on: October 30, 2012
About the Author
Photo of Ben Glenn

While in grade school, Ben Glenn was diagnosed with dyslexia, but wasn't diagnosed with ADHD until he was an adult. He is the author of the upcoming release, “Simple Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About ADHD,” in addition to “Simply Special, Learning to Love Your ADHD” and a three-part guidebook series developed for parents and teachers.

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