There have been some really cool April Fool’s jokes. There have also been some really bad ones. Instead of blindly continuing this tradition, maybe we should think about it a bit. While we can still observe it, there may be things we want to change.
Switching News Anchors: This has been the most amusing joke I’ve seen on April first. Usually it’s the meteorologist and the sport’s anchor. They enjoy the change and we enjoy watching them in fields more than a little out of their element. As long as they agree, it’s delightful.
Fake News: This has never been a good idea. Not matter how open a reporter is that they are saying something totally untrue there will be people who believe it. At best it creates confusion. At worst it can create chaos.
Now that we have on-line sites like The Daily Onion, some of this has lessened, but not all of it. There are still posts on social media quoting that particular site and believing every word. It’s far better to keep to the truth when reporting.
Bully Opportunity: If you want a made to order opportunity for bullies, April Fool’s Day is it. They can pull pranks and then say innocently that it’s April Fool’s Day. I’ve seen it done. I’ve had it done to me. It isn’t a good thing.
What are we Teaching? Are we teaching that one day out of the year it is ok to lie? Is it OK this one day to cause mental, emotional or physical harm? Should bullies be allowed free reign on April first?
The type of “joke” we use and the things we allow will set the tone for a lot of people. I’m most concerned about children. There are bullies in school, and this can give them opportunities to cause pain. There are vulnerable kids in schools that will always be the target.
A Kinder, Gentler Approach: I think we would be best off to handle this more like the first section. Switching places doesn’t hurt people as long as both people agree. Making it “crazy hat day” may be a good idea.
We also need to be on the lookout for those who abuse this day. Most teachers and principals know which students are likely to act up and which ones are likely to be hurt. In fact, many parents are aware of at least the former. This is an opportunity to nip this problem in the bud.
I’m not exactly against April Fool’s Day. I’m against what it has become. For me, I will probably do something funny, such as serve dinner backwards (dessert first, anyone?). It can be a fun day, but only if we’re aware of the potential for it to be a disaster.