Growing up, my dad played the same April Fool joke on us kids every year, “Look kids, there is a deer in the lawn!” Every year, the six of us fell for it. We actually lived along a highway, so the likelihood of us spotting a deer in the lawn was pretty small.
My husband was gone on April 1, but we both wanted to make sure have some fun with our kids by using the deer in the lawn joke. I was really excited about having some fun with the kids. I even added the prank to my calendar so I would not forget to do it!
I had the iPad ready and filmed the whole thing so I could send the kids’ reaction to Jim. Unfortunately, the kids did not think my deer in the lawn joke was funny. My son actually started to cry. He really wanted to see the deer!
I felt awful, and it took me awhile to cheer them up before leaving for school. After school and work, we called my husband and my dad. The idea of April Fools’ Day had sunk it a little bit more by the time the kids helped me make the calls. They actually told both my husband and my dad that they saw a deer in the lawn that morning and then said, “April Fools!” (My son actually said what sounded more like, “April Fourth!” I am pretty sure it is a combination between April Fools and July Fourth – yes, he is a creative genius!)
Needless to say, I felt a lot better about my April Fools’ Day fun gone bad. The old Deer in the Lawn joke made a comeback and everyone had a good laugh that day.
The morale of the story: Even when things (ideas, experiences, changes, legendary April Fools’ jokes, etc.) feel challenging in the beginning, they can and usually improve with a little time, effort and clarity. Sometimes it takes a few tears, moments of frustration and great communication to create understanding and breakthrough experiences. Of course, a little fun and laughter help too! Put on your leadership hat, get creative, have some fun and do whatever you can to keep your Deer in the Lawn moving forward with confidence and clarity.
Go Wild with Your Deer in the Lawn!