Super fun episode where we interview young author, Will Daniel, and his proud mom, Blythe Daniel. Will and Blythe share why humor is so important to have in our family life.
ABOUT OUR GUEST
William Daniel is a sixth grader, a WWII enthusiast, and a competitive gymnast. He builds model airplanes and wants to be a pilot someday. He has an older sister, Maris, and a twin sister, Calyn, and is the younger by four minutes. As you can well imagine, he enjoys making people laugh, which he does for family, friends, and at school. William lives in Colorado with his family and dog, Riley.
Blythe Daniel is a literary agent and marketer with more than 20 years of experience in publishing. She has written for Proverbs 31 Ministries, Focus on the Family, Ann Voskamp, Christian Retailing, and she links bloggers with readers through the agency’s blog network. She lives in Colorado with her husband and three children. Find her latest book here.
ORDER WILL'S BOOK (Releases on 11/8/22)
You're Joking Me: Jokes for Kids by a Kid (Burst Out Laughing)
Creators & Guests
What is The Connected Mom?
Form a deeper connection with God, more empathic connection with other Moms, and more intentional connection with your child.
Welcome to the Connected Mom podcast, where we have conversations about connecting more deeply with God, more empathically with our fellow moms, and more intentionally with our kids. I'm Becky Harling, your host, and I have with me today my amazing cohost, Sarah, who is very much in the parenting herself. Welcome, Sarah.
And our listeners are in for a treat today because they should leave here with at least one good laugh. Becky, that's our guarantee at the beginning.
Yes. We're so excited. So you know who we have with us today? We have Will, Daniel, and, uh, I don't know if he goes by Will or William. We'll call. You will? Is that okay? Will? Uh, he has written his first joke book, and it's called I'm Joking You, and it's just come out. And he had to write 400 jokes. Now, Will is a student, he's a gymnast. He's going into the 7th grade this fall, and he had to write 400 jokes, which I kind of love. So we'll make sure you start by telling us a joke first.
Yes, uh, we need a joke.
Okay, I have a good one for you. What kind of dog does a scientist have? What kind of dog does a scientist have? Uh what a lab rador?
I love that. I love that. I can't believe it. Uh, this is great. So, Will, what is your favorite thing about telling jokes to people?
Well, my favorite thing about telling jokes is seeing the smile on someone's face or the annoyed glare that inside is laughing.
Yeah, I love it. That makes sense.
Well, how in the world did you come up with 400 jokes on your own? I mean, I can probably rattle off about two. What was that process like to create 400 jokes?
Well, it all started in first or second grade. I'd come up with jokes, and although they weren't as good as they are now, I still love making people laugh. And I still do. My mom would always say then that someday I could write a book. Everything took off in quarantine, though, when we were all at home, bored to death, I came up with more and more jokes until my mom finally made a book proposal. In those years of fear, I found something good, and that was a book deal from Ravel. That was something that the enemy meant for evil, but God turned it for good. The process and you're probably wondering why how I came up with all. Well, I have this process where I look at words that are homophones, which means they have the same sound, but different meaning and spelling. So you basically put them together and it makes a joke. Or I'll use phrases and expressions that could have an alternative meaning.
I love that. Who knew it was so scientific and so well thought out? Yeah, I love that. So I want to ask you a more serious question. How can jokes and laughter help kids who have a lot of worries. I mean, I think about kids going to school every day and a, uh, lot of kids, I mean, we've just come through the pandemic and a lot of kids have a lot of anxiety and worry. Laughing at jokes and knowing jokes. How can that help them?
Well, jokes have helped me a lot with all my worries. Humor in general is a place to escape from reality. When your mind is busy in the goofiness of humor, you're smiling and it is impossible to feel any other emotions when you're smiling. Proverbs 1722 is I forgot the exact words, but it says, a cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a broken spirit drives the bones. It's basically saying that when you're happy and you're all cheerful and stuff, it will boost your mood and everything else. But when you are sad and stepping into a place of fear, everything just kind of goes out the window.
Mhm, I love that you shared scripture with us. Well, way to go. Yeah.
Thank you. Good stuff. So Blythe, we're going to put you on the spot for a second because you've obviously raised this cheerful joker here, this jokester. Um, why is laughter and humor so important in family life from your mom's perspective?
From my perspective, it is important to bring laughter into the home because it diffuses some otherwise tense situations. Like, we can be all stressed about getting ready for school and that's where a lot of Will's jokes came, when we'd be getting ready for school in the morning and they'd be eating breakfast. And so it would just put like this just joy bomb. Right in the middle of our preparations for getting ready for school. We were all stressed out, whose lunch box is missing and who didn't get their homework. And then Will would say a joke and then we'd all of a sudden just be laughing. And so it really can lighten the mood. But it also, I think it unifies the family. You can be having a stressful day or a hard day, and someone like Will brings in a joke and you instantly we're all laughing together. So maybe we've just been frustrated with each other, but we're now all laughing because there is humor and it draws us close together. And really, for us, this has been a fun project because, well, he had most of the jokes. He actually has like 460 jokes. Um, but a few of our family members came up with some that Will approved and so those did make it into the book. But it's really fun to have a project together as a family. Now, this is primarily Wills, but he did involve us and he would ask us sometimes, hey, I've got a joke, and what do you think? So I think it's important for there to be humor and laughter, but also, maybe that's not what your family is about, but maybe there's something else that your family, um, can do together that can bring joy into your home. And it's important to do that as a family. It unifies.
I love that.
Quick follow up question.
Quick follow up question. Has he always been the jokester? Did this start from an early age?
He has always been funny, yes. He has always said things. And we laugh now because I would put some of his things on Facebook. I probably could go back and pull some of those things off of Facebook and create jokes around that. But he always has had a gift for making us laugh. And then he has chosen to step into this role of putting putting all these together and then being able to spread the joy. And the fun part for me has also been watching his friends respond to his jokes. So he got to tell, uh, like, probably once a week, right at school, he would get to tell a joke. His teacher would say, hey, Will, what's our Wednesday joke of the week? And so it's been fun for me to see him be able to not just delight our family, but others as well, and teachers who have appreciated having something funny to say in their classroom. So it's really been special to watch him use the gifts that God has given him to be creative and to be funny and to share that. Because we all do need to laugh more. We need to take ourselves less serious and include just more times of humor and fun. And this is a great way to do it. Um, you're joking me. The, uh, name of his book, um, I think is such a fun way to, uh, just even bring in that title of like, hey, you're talking to me, right? Um, and the subtitle is, uh, by a Kid. So, um, it's fun for kids to see that other kids can be creative and they have just as much of the same ability to be creative as well. And that's important for you to share that, too.
I love all of that. Sometimes, um, some kids are a little bit more shy or they're lonely, or they get a little anxious in social situations in school. How can having a couple of good jokes memorized? How can that help kids make friends?
Well, humor is one of those things that can make you come out of your comfort zone, um, when you're displaying it. Humor in a social setting, if used correctly, is like a cold swimming pool. At first, you get into, uh, this pool slowly and are trying to warm up. But then you get in a little more and a little more until finally you're submerged and you learn a lot of humor. You don't need to be fully submerged in the pool in order to make friends. You only need a few jokes to break the ice. They're a good conversation starter because people will know that you're not a rock solid person, and then eventually they'll come in the pool with you.
Yeah, um, if you want to boost your social life and jokes, that's when you dive down into the deep end and learn more and more jokes, even making up your own humor. Remember, humor should be used wisely. The kids who want attention will interrupt whenever just to try to be funny. This will not get you anywhere. Use it sparingly. Also, um, one big thing is that my sister is writing a book which will, for girls, uh, talking a lot about friendships. And that's another big thing. I'm not sure if she mentions humor inside of it, but if the girls want to use humor in their friendships, I would suggest that they go check out my sister's book.
Yeah, that's a great suggestion. I love that. Well, uh, you're the youngest of three kids. You're the youngest by four minutes, because your sister's a twin. So, Blythe, what part do you think being the youngest in the family has to do with a natural propensity towards being a jokester?
Well, I think there's a funny thing that happened when Will was young.
He would be teased because he was the by four minutes, he was the youngest. Um, and then at some point, I think that he and his sister were talking about how one was taller. His sister was taller, and his older sister said, well, that's because you were born last, so there is that last child. But, um, very smart of them to figure that out. Um, but I think also, just as a boy, he's had some great material with two sisters, technically older sisters, um, that has given him a lot to work with. And so, I don't know, he gets a lot of it from my dad. And my dad's always been funny. And then my husband, um, has a funny side to him as well. So I think he's really come back naturally from the men in our home family.
Yeah, I love that. And I love that you keep calling it a gift, Blithe, because I think it is a gift, and it's part of how God has wired Will to be a blessing to the world. Because I think back on COVID and just how long it was and how many people were isolated, they would just go on the Internet and try to find funny stuff to make them laugh because they were fearful or anxious or lonely or whatever. And so there's a whole role that telling jokes plays in encouraging people. And so I really kind of love that. Um, Sarah, did you have another question?
Yes. I mean, like, you kind of touched on this about how it was a whole family affair, this book process, where Will definitely was the author. But I can imagine, um, with your work as a literary agent, like, that was pretty special. So can you talk to us a little bit about, um, how him being your author, how that helps in your connection? I think that's pretty cool.
Yeah. Thank you. It really has been so special to show Will the process of writing a book and getting it published and working with an editor and working with a marketing team that will help him take his message to places that he probably couldn't have done on his own. And it really was so special. I never forget the day that I sat down with him and talked with him about all the things that he was committing to by signing a contract and being a part of this process. And it was this moment of, like, our two worlds coming together for him to understand and see what I do and what I long to do to help other writers get their books published, where he could say, oh, I see what mom is doing, and I see how she spends her time, and I see how this process goes. And so I think it's been helpful for him to understand a little bit of the work that God has called me to. And then it's been so special and so fun to be able to support him and encourage him. And we've just had some fun discussions about marketing and how do we post videos, and he's teaching me things. And as a parent, I'm learning from him and watching how he's taking what you know, I was 48 when I published my first book, and he's twelve, and so there's things that I'm watching from him going, wow, that's really cool. I wish I'd known that when I was his age. Um, but I think it is really special to come together and find whatever it is. Maybe it's not writing books. Um, maybe it's something that you create as a family. Um, maybe you have a hobby or a business that you start. But I've just seen how special it is to be able to affirm your child with a gift or account that might seem simple to you. You might not even think that there's a market for it, but go for it, pursue it with your child, because it means a lot to them. And it will mean a lot to you as a parent to know that you've done everything that you can to encourage your child in a specific direction. And it may be that, you know, will may write more books and he may not, but I want him to know that I support him and I believe in his creativity. That's important for kids to hear these days. I think they hear a lot from us of, uh, will you do this? Can you clean up your room? Can you make better grades? And so when we can turn around and support them and say, I believe you can do this, I see you doing this, I think that really makes a difference in their lives and our relationships with them.
Yeah, I really love that. Um, let me ask you this. Who are your heroes? Who are comedians, or who are humorists? Who do you look up to in the world as far as you think, oh, he's a really good comedian, and I'd like to be like him.
Well, I don't know if directly a comedian, but I would say my father and my grandfather, uh, my grandfather, he tells a lot of jokes and stuff. He's a funny person. And my dad, he finds humor about everything, which I something I wish I could have more of.
That'S good. Okay, well, I have some real practical advice, because this is coming from personal experience. I need some advice from you. Um, if you tell a joke and it doesn't land well, you can tell I have experience in this. What in the world do you do? Because that's pretty embarrassing. Any advice for us?
You tell another and redeem yourself. I would say if you tell I would say M, then you got it. If that one doesn't go well, uh, you may want to maybe want to find another way to.
Yeah, I have another question for you. So, Will and Blithe, you just spoke together at a writer's conference. What was that like for you to speak as a team, mother and son?
I was so excited, and I was blown away at the way that Will shared, um, so openly and was so polished and so good at it. Um, I could have stepped away and let him run the whole time. It was such a joy, and it was so fun to prepare for that and to bring him into the world of publishing at that conference and share. And I really think that people heard him as he shared a little bit about, like, you're never too old or you're never too young to start writing. And so he really gave them some good encouragement of using your gifts, um, that God's given you. So I just was delighting and watching God use Him and speak through Him to other people. What was it like for you?
Well, I was a little nervous, but knowing that and like, you're asking with how you could mess up a joke if I messed up, I know my mom could just bitch in and say something else. But it definitely was an experience looking at a crowd of people and giving my input and then letting her give her input and thinking, next time I got to step it up a little. Um, that was my old.
I love that. Oh, go ahead, Blipe.
Oh, I just was going to say, you know, I think for parents who are wanting to bring their child into their workplace or wanting their kids to understand what they do, I think it's so good when they can see the reality of how hard we work and that they can have a part in that. As, um, I've wanted my kids to know that I've never pressured them or asked them to write a book. They've come to me and they've wanted to do this. And so I love that they feel the freedom to say, I want to do that, or they would say, I don't want to be a part of it. So I think when we can give our children that freedom to find their gifts and use their gifts, um, I think that creates even a better relationship between us.
Well, I feel like you might end up giving some public speakers a little coaching on how to bring humor into their messages, because there's nothing worse than listening to a boring speaker. What advice would you give a speaker on how to spice up their message with a good joke or two?
First, uh, of all, I guess I would ask them to pick up a copy of my book. Read a few. I have some oneliners in there.
There you go.
Um, but maybe watch a little comedy on TV or something, or, you know, explore the world or go into that metaphorical. M swimming pool. Just dip your toes in. Look at the world of comedy. Um, if you really just want to go plain, just every ten minutes, just say a joke. I've seen it done before and the results are pretty good.
M, that's amazing. I love that. And I love that you're such a natural at ah, marketing. For those of us that write books, I love that your first piece of advice to them would be to go buy a copy of your book. Way to go. I really feel like your mom has trained you well in marketing, Will. Oh, yes. Well, our time is almost up, but this is too much fun, Will, so I think we need another joke from you. Do you have another joke for us?
I have m a pretty good one liner, if you're willing. So this one lady bragging about how expensive her sunscreen was. I told her not to rub it in.
Oh, no, that's, uh, great. Hey, I think we need to just end with giving our listeners a little advice. So, Blive, how would you advise moms to help their kids start using humor? What advice do you have for moms about bringing humor into their home? Because a lot of moms are working jobs like yourself, and they're trying to get dinner on the table, they're trying to get their kids to activities, and they've got maybe financial pressures or relationship stresses. And what advice would you give them? Obviously, you've done this really well with Will, so what advice would you give to moms about how to bring that humor into their home?
I think one way that you can do that is as a family. Maybe you take turns at the dinner table or before bed, and each person maybe makes up a joke or you recap something funny that happened that day, and you ask another child to say those words backwards or something. You start at the beginning and start at the end and work your way back. You can retell a story, maybe using a different type of character, or maybe just really trying to think through how can we look at something, maybe even something difficult that happened today, and what can we find that would be joy on the other side of it? Maybe it's even like looking ahead and saying, what if this had happened instead and maybe playing out a story. Um, I think kids are really wanting to be creative and wanting to share their voice. And so, um, sometimes we'll watch a, um, show of videos, um, that has funniest videos that we just we just love that time of the family. We love to laugh. So we build it into our family time where we know that we're going to laugh for an hour watching some of those videos. Sometimes, um, we create our own videos. So, hey, if you're a family that likes to laugh or wants to laugh more, maybe let your kids create some videos with you in it, even, um, and laugh along at how silly and how funny you can be together. But I think those are just some ideas that come to mind.
One thing I'm sorry.
That I would like to love that. No, you go ahead, Will.
Okay. One thing that I would like to mention, just a short little phrase. You're never too old or too young to get involved in humor. I'm just going to end it there. You're never too young or too old to get involved in humor.
Yeah. So, Will, where can people get your book?
Um, there's various places like Amazon, Target, and Walmart. Online stores, i, uh, believe barnes and Noble, um, places like those baker, uh, books as well.
It called your joking me.
Uh, parents, you want to go out and buy that book for your kids? It's called tell us the title again, Will.
You're joking me?
You're joking me? So go get a copy for your kids and equip them with some good jokes as they go into school and into the classroom. It never hurts to have a few good jokes in your back pocket. Let me close this out in prayer. This has been so much fun, Will. I'll be praying that you sell thousands and thousands of books and I see a real future for you. I see a YouTuber coming up and all the fun stuff that I know you can do. So let me close this out in prayer. Lord Jesus, we love that you yourself had a sense of humor, and we love that you've gifted will like this, that even as a young man, he can write this incredible book, Lord, filled with jokes and fun for kids. And so I thank you for him. I pray that you would bless him. I pray that you would bless the sales of this book. I pray that the moms that listen to this podcast would go out and buy that book for their kids so that their kids are equipped with a few good jokes. Thank you for our time together. We love you, Lord Jesus. In Jesus name, amen. Hey, friends, thanks for joining us today on um, the Connected Mom podcast, and we will see you next time and continue our conversations on how to connect deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms and more intentionally with your child.