Experience the potential of humor and laughter in your work and life


It all began 24 years ago on the death of a student. In only three months time cancer had taken his life. At that moment I decided to stress the brighter side of life, as it takes so many dark turns.
Thus, a humor magazine, MASCARADA and a comic workshop were born. Some years later, MASCARADA JUNIOR came on to the scene, and the workshop changed its focus from comics to humor. The difference was that while the aim of the magazine was to create comics and funny stories, in the workshop we dealt with more comprehensive activities such as theatre, video, photography, song and dance - all with the aim of learning to perceive life from a more humorous perspective. This humor workshop was later extended to one for teachers at the school and also to the annual “Humor Day Celebration”, which always had the objective to foment the development of a sense of humor and to promote an educational theme (It’s OK To Be Different”, “Don’t Get Mad, Laugh!”etc). Subsequently, this project has spread to other parts of Spain as well as abroad.


He was supposed to teach us to draw, but we turned the tables! Just look at these self-portraits!


In 1992 I received a grant to attend a course at El Escorial Summer Courses called, “Humor, A Serious Matter” with the best cartoonists in Spain – Mingote, Forges, Chumy Chumez, Máximo, Gallego, Rey, Peridis, and Julio Cebrián. During the question and answer period I asked, “But does humor help you yourselves not to get angry, to lighten your approach to life?” I gathered from the general murmur that the answer was “No.” Máximo said something like this: “We have to strain our brains to come up to with something humorous everyday and later we end up drained and burned out. We get angry like everyone else.” They all agreed. This surprised me since if I had gone into humor years ago, it was because I believe, and still do, that a good sense of humor helps us react in a more creative way to setbacks; that is, to live better.


As a teacher who has worked with teenagers, I have had problems with no solution, situations causing tremendous stress and moments of total desperation. What helped me most at those moments was the capacity to laugh, even when there was simply nothing to be done. It’s not easy, but it’s a marvellous experience once you manage to do so.


As a mountain guide I have taken many people on hikes up mountains. I remember a chubby 13-year-old boy telling me at the base of a mountain in Gredos, “I can’t climb all the way up there!” I replied. “Don’t worry, just stay by me and we’ll go up little by little, taking it easy.” When we made it up to the top, he was bursting with pride and joy. He had done it! It hadn’t


He led us up here. Shall we throw him into the icy lake now to show our gratitude?

been easy, but the view alone from up there had been worth it.
With humor it is the same. I can indicate the path, but each person must walk it himself. It may be hard at times, but it’s definitely worth it


A few years ago I taught a full day seminar at a congress for teachers in Palma de Mallorca. The Director of Education spoke a few words of introduction, mostly about figures and sums of money spent by the government on education. I was thinking to myself: “In his place, I’d speak more about education itself and less about money.” But almost at the very end he said a something I’ll never forget in my whole life: “All this money (spent on education) is money saved from being spent on prisons.” He also gave encouragement to the teachers with the important task of educating young people. To help change the students you work with is difficult although that is the essence of education. But to invest in bettering the mental and emotional health of the teachers means saving money on sick days and long-term absence due to depression, stress, and burnout. This is the preventive rather than curative function of humour. A very good investment!

If learning to see things in a different way is good for teachers, it is also good for students. They also have their disappointments, depressions, failures and problems. To learn to perceive them from another perspective is the result of having a sense of humour.

© Educahumor, 2006-2010. Germán Payo Losa Tf. (34) 923 12 14 49 german@educahumor.com