Dad jokes are terrible, and most Dads tell them. You know the kind of things, those simple and usually pun based jokes that Dads relentlessly repeat throughout the upbringing of their children and beyond. It's actually the main reason I haven't had children is that I am worried that if I do my jokes will get worse.
Actually, as adults Dad jokes are terrible, but I believe they serve a purpose for children. When children are growing up and learning about the world, they inevitably learn humour. Younger children respond to silly sounds, expressive faces, and adults seem to instinctively make funny sounds and pull faces. They learn to discern these silly sounds and faces from normal sounds and faces, so they start to learn the difference between serious and not serious.
Then once the children have learned a bit of language they start to learn that things sound alike but mean different things, double meanings. At this point Dad jokes are very funny to the children, and the amount of repetition that is involved doesn't wear thin for some time. They love the surprise that they are assuming that the little joke story is going one way, then because of the double meaning of a word or two, it goes somewhere else they didn't expect. Once the children grow up a bit more and start to appreciate more complex humour such as more advanced wordplay, sarcasm, and irony, the Dad jokes aren't challenging anymore and get embarrassing.
But the jokes did serve a purpose, they were a key part of helping the children along with their development of understanding of humour. And I believe that learning humour is a key skill in life, not only for the obvious social reasons such as being able to relate with people and communicate better, but also because humour is about seeing things differently from how they seem. The ability to see things differently is key to being able to notice potential problems before they occur, and creatively come up with solutions.
So next time your children groan about your Dad jokes, point them to this article and say "I'm doing this for your own good, now laugh."
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