I always get a bit nostalgic this time of year. We’re in the dog days of summer, and for many of us, that means the start of a new school year is right around the corner. One of my favorite rituals when I was a kid was the annual school supply shopping spree. My mom and I would head out, me armed with my supply list (on paper in those days) and she with a healthy dose of patience while I hotly debated the pros and cons of slightly different binders and pencils. Later, when I was a public school teacher, I loved entering my freshly decorated classroom, my head filled with the plans I had been working on all summer and ready to greet my new students. (Teachers out there, can I get an Amen?)

But in the midst of the back-to-school season with its busy-ness, buying, and planning, I was reminded recently that we need to take time out for a little bit of fun. In the words of the famous philosopher, Raffi, sometimes you just have to shake your sillies out. (Raffi is a children’s entertainer in case you are unfamiliar with his philosophical wisdom. You can check out his famous rendition of Shake Your Sillies out here.)

A couple of weeks ago I was shaking my sillies out with kids in India. Literally. I played Raffi’s song for them, and we did the motions together. I felt (and looked) absolutely ridiculous doing it, but it sure was fun. In fact, I was having so much fun, I didn’t get any video but I did get a few pictures!

Being silly with kids on the other side of the world reminded me of two things.

First, kids are kids no matter where they live. The kids in our schools definitely have big challenges: poverty, caste, and difficult family circumstances, but they love to have fun, just like our kids. And second, being silly with someone creates bonds not easily broken. Sharing a laugh, looking ridiculous, and being just a little bit unafraid to be vulnerable in a silly way nurtures us all.


I hope you take a little bit of time this week to laugh with your kids, your grandkids, your nieces, your cousins, your spouse, your friends, or someone else in your life who may need a little silly. It’s good for all of us!

PS: Even though we didn’t get video of Shake Your Sillies out, you might enjoy this instead: Pre-K Singing ABCs


  • Stories are real, all names and photos have been changed for protection, and are representative.