The Joy Of Giving

Last Thursday I had a great experience when I volunteered as a teaching assistant, teaching English as a Second Language at Vida Ministries. It reminded me how much joy there is in giving. Oh, I only gave about 90 minutes of my time, and I was only the assistant teacher in a beginning English class, but I came away feeling refreshed and fulfilled.

Last Saturday, I  gave a 45 minute demonstration of Laugh2Learn’s improv training to the Daughters of the King at Grace Episcopal Cathedral. I was reminded again of how much joy there is in playing. As George Bernard Shaw’s said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” 

But it wasn’t just about playing; we also rediscovered the joy of giving. One of the games we played, a game I almost always play at a Laugh2Learn gig was “Spread The Joy.” In this game we divide into groups of three, designate one person in each group  the “head honcho;” one the “big cheese; and, one the “top banana.” In the first round the head honcho is the boss and sends her minions out into the room to spread the joy by saying something positive to someone. She gives specific instruction — “Find someone who has helped you and tell them how much you appreciate them,” “Find someone wearing blue and tell them how nice they look today.”  After the “head honcho” sends her employees out  the big cheese and finally the top banana take their turn at sending employees to spread the joy. It is a wonderful experience. When we debrief, almost everyone comments on how good it felt to have people say positive things about them, but many always also comment on how much joy there is in paying compliments. .  . giving.

Below is a short clip of Lawrence LEAP playing “Spread the Joy.”  Notice the happiness on the faces not only of those who are receiving compliments, but also on those who are giving.



George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” As I do improv based training, I am constantly amazed at how eager adults are to play games. Even the most up tight executive seems to welcome the opportunity to engage in a few moments of frivolity. Of course at Laugh2Learn we combine playing with learning so we get added value from our play.

Here is a game you can play at work almost any time. It doesn’t require any tools and only takes a few minutes. In addition to just being fun, it will help you apply the “yes… and” principle and develop good relationships with coworkers. It’s called “Dr. Know It All,” and involves at least three players. The rules are quite simple. Some one asks a question and then speaking one word at a time, three people answer it. The first person says the first word of the answer the second the second the third the third and the first the fourth, and so on.

Here is a brief demonstration: