Bobbie Sandberg and Steve Sandberg: Keeping laughter in our lives

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Laughter filled the Smith Fieldhouse as Steve and Bobbie Sandberg told stories and jokes at the Women’s Conference Thursday afternoon in their speech, “Keeping Laughter in Our Lives.”

Women chattered and waited outside forming long lines to get into the building about half an hour before the session. They occupied all the seats the room, with only a few remaining.

Listeners in the Marriott Center during a session of Women's Conference. (Photo by Chris Bunker)
Listeners crocheting and knitting during a session of Women’s Conference. (Photo by Chris Bunker)

When Steve and Bobbie were assigned to the topic of “Keeping Laughter in our Lives,” Bobbie, surprised at the topic relates telling her mom how she wasn’t funny. Her mom said back, “I know, but you have a merry laugh.” Delighted by the sweet story the audience politely laughed at Bobbie’s narrative. In Proverbs 17:22 it reads, “A merry heart doeth good like medicine.” This scripture set the theme for the rest of the speech presented by the Sandbergs.

Bobbie states that, “A healthy sense of humor releases stress, builds trust, communicates values, unites families, gives perspective, increases hope, facilitates revelation and brings joy.” The couple purposed a question of, “How can laughter make my life better?” and encouraged the audience to take careful notes on their thoughts.

The question was then led by three focuses of light-minded vs. light-hearted, demeaning vs. uplifting, and mocking vs. being of good cheer. Bobbie first starts off by relating what a friend of hers said about being a light-hearted person and said, “Many situations in life warrant what she called a, heightened emotional response.” The acronym becoming “H.E.R.” The audience laughed out loud about the phrase and the Stanbergs thought it better not to use the acronym for sake of relating the issue just to woman characteristics. Bobbie and Steve told stories of these “H.E.R.” moments and how to be light-hearted in such situations.

Things such as loss of job, abuse, financial disasters, childlessness and death were said like, “Are not things to be diminished in the moment of light-minded humor?” They then said, “Laughter that makes fun of serious situation is light-minded and inappropriate.” But there is an appropriate time for humor that can be, “an escape valve for the pressures of life” Elder Scott.

They then went on to talk about demeaning vs. uplifting laughter and whether it became a positive tool for your relationships or not. Building family relationships around laughter helps children know what parents value. The Sandbergs did caution that any teasing or demeaning laughter causes harm to relationships and is damaging. Bobbie tells a story of her daughter who has a personality of her own that is expressed through her clothing choice. Everyday her daughter would get dressed in what seemed to be ridiculous outfits to Bobbie. The girl would dress herself and tell her mom confidently, “See Mom, I told you it would be cute!” It took Bobbie some time but after a while she enjoyed the bright personality of her daughter who could express herself so proudly.

The last point the Sandbergs talked about was the difference between mocking and being of good cheer. Sometimes things that are often sacred to us can be exposed to those who make a mock out of them or “casting pearls before swine.” Other instances in the scriptures suggest that we need to “be of good cheer.” Bobbie followed by saying, “I don’t believe the Savior was asking them or us to gloss over our lives and pretend the hard circumstances can just be smiled away.” She continued, “What he is asking us to do, is to be of good cheer because we have hope and faith in him that are set so deep in us that we can face things that would weigh other down.”

By the end of their speech the audience left with a feelings of joy and commitment to laugh through the hard times while still maintaining appropriateness in it. The Sandbergs ended their speech with the theme scripture for Women’s Conference, “Therefore, continue in your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end.” Overall the Sandbergs seemed to enjoy themselves while giving their remarks as the audience reacted well to their humorous stories and insights.

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