I grew up in a home where teasing one another was normal. My father called it "kidology." We didn't intend to hurt each other with our teasing, and I don't think we did. Later in life when we reminded my mother of the words she used trying to lay linoleum on the kitchen floor, she wished we hadn't remembered; but she was glad we turned her frustration into a funny memory.

Some people are full of fun and delight their friends by telling fictional stories. Eventually found out, the hilarity begins. Tall tales about friends and family can bring great delight.

But for the most part, I refrain from teasing because some teasing isn't always funny. I remind myself of this each day. Sometimes we are critical of another person but give the message in the form of teasing as if to make it funny. The sad fact is that this kind of teasing can hurt the one to whom it is directed. The teasing may not be funny.

I don't remember an instance when Jesus teased anyone, but we do know that he told parables and let the hearers decide what it meant in their lives. Those who found themselves in the story to be guilty were annoyed. For the others, the moral of the story was to stay true to goodness and love. On occasion, Jesus would be straight forward and criticize the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. He didn't try to convey the truth coated in humor. Telling the truth continued to be his practice.

Recently I submitted a devotional with a poem by Mattie J. T. Stepanek who became an acclaimed poet and peacemaker as a child. He suffered from a rare form of muscular dystrophy that claimed the lives of his three siblings. Mattie himself died before he was fourteen. When he was about ten he wrote a poem about feelings. What he wrote is a reminder that we need to be kind when teasing. He wrote this poem in March of 2000.

"Some things hurt my feelings.

Like when other people tease me.

I have been teased by kids

About my oxygen, and

About not being able to keep up.

I have been teased by kids

For not teasing other kids,

And for setting a moral example.

I have been teased by someone

For not keeping scary secrets, and

For being afraid of threatening things.

I have even been teased by someone

About having a disability.

When things have hurt my feelings,

Usually I try to talk

To the person who has hurt me.

Sometimes, I have to talk

To a person I trust instead.

It is important for people to be

Honest when expressing themselves.

But, it is also important to be

Always thoughtful and considerate

In expressing feelings to others,

So that more feelings are not hurt."

Mattie reminds us to be kind and thoughtful when teasing.