Do you remember the ‘class clown’ in the school? He could make everyone crack up at the most inopportune times. He was a trial to his teachers, an embarrassment to his parents, and an utter delight to every child who wanted to escape the boredom of school. Teachers probably wonder if the Board of Education assigns at least one clown to every class to make sure they earn every dollar of their salaries. These skilled little disrupters are usually boys. Often they have reading or other academic problems. They may be small in stature, although not always, and they’ll do anything for a laugh. Their parents and teachers may not recognise that behind the boisterous behaviour is often the pain of inferiority.
You see, humour is a classic response to feelings of low self-esteem. That’s why within many successful comedians is the memory of a hurting child. Jonathan Winters’ parents were divorced when he was seven, and he used to cry when he was alone because other children teased him about not having a father. Joan Rivers frequently joked about her unattractiveness as a girl. She said she was such a ‘dog’, her father had to throw a bone down the aisle to get her married. These famous comedians got their training during childhood, using humour as a defence.
That’s also the inspiration for the class clown. By making an enormous joke out of everything, they often conceal the self-doubt that churns inside them. Understanding that should help you meet their needs and manage them more effectively. ‘Give to Your servant an understanding heart’ is a prayer every parent and teacher should pray.