Leaven Blog

Son brings out the laughter

by Todd Habiger

When my son Connor was a toddler, he had this habit of asking: “You happy?”

It wasn’t just something he randomly said for no reason. He really wanted to know if you were happy.

If you weren’t happy, he would do something to make you happy.

One of my favorite memories of young Connor and his sense of humor is this: One summer morning, Connor, my wife Lori, daughter Paige and I were driving to visit my in-laws. Connor and Paige were arguing back and forth, back and forth — driving me crazy.

I eventually snapped and told both kids I was sick of listening to them, I wanted them to shut up, and neither of them were to say a word until we reached their grandparents house or there would be hell to pay.

It was tense in the car. You could hear a pin drop.

Several minutes passed when finally, a little voice from the back started singing, “Christmas, Christmas time is near.”

Lori and I immediately started laughing uncontrollably. Connor sat in his car seat with a proud look on his face for breaking the tension. Only Paige was unhappy. She started crying because Connor didn’t get punished.

But how could I punish him? He read the situation and did what he always tried to do — make people happy.

Not much has changed from toddler to teenager. Connor still wants to make people happy. In school, he’s known as a jokester. Kids and teachers alike love him for his sense of humor.

I love him for his sense of humor. It comes naturally to him. His humor comes from his big heart. His heart wants people to be happy.

When I was in college, I did an internship for a magazine in Arkansas. When I arrived, the magazine was dealing with the fallout of a cover they had run which depicted the Christ of the Ozarks (a giant sculpture of Jesus near Eureka Springs) laughing uncontrollably.

Apparently, some people had taken offense at this image.

But I thought it was refreshing. I know that the Jesus depicted in the Bible was a serious person with a serious mission.

But I’d like to think that in his life, Jesus had many occasions to share a laugh with his father, mother and followers. I would find it sad if he didn’t.

I hope that Jesus had someone like Connor in his life. For me, I’m thankful that I have Connor. His humor helps me see the big picture and to not sweat the small stuff.

And, Connor, in answer to your question — yes, I am happy.

About the author

Todd Habiger

Todd has been the production manager for The Leaven since 1995. Under his direction The Leaven has won multiple design awards from the Catholic Press Association. Prior to working at The Leaven, Todd was an award-winning writer for The Catholic Key newspaper in Kansas City, Mo. Todd is married to Lori Wood Habiger, a former Leaven employee herself. They have two children — Paige and Connor, and one dog — Joli.

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