On my daughter’s 12-year-old adventure in New York, we encountered my worst nightmare.

People in costumes.

I hate people in costumes.

And, here they were, greeting us on the dock of the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. They would not be ignored.

My daughter has never cared for silliness and I immediately watched her blush, cover her face, and stand behind me. That’s when I decided to embrace it. What?


I took that mystery-man-hand, disguised in a Statue of Liberty costume, towering above me and walked away with him. I decided not to consider why this adult’s life and career had led him to this place and time. I didn’t think about the germs he was covered in and what micro-organisms lived on the hat he put on my head.

I grabbed the torch and told my daughter to get in the picture and smile.

That’s right. Smile.

We’re having a good time. It’s okay to be silly. It’s fun to have fun. And, pictures are better with smiles. Maybe she’ll have more fun as a teenager and relax if she learns this lesson now.

I wish I had had the confidence to be silly as a teenager. I’m not saying I didn’t have some wild good times, but there were plenty of times I stood and watched my friends have a good time because I was too self-conscious to participate.

In college, I made very specific efforts to loosen up by having “Amy-Days.” My friend, Amy, could (and can) walk past anyone without having to stare at the ground or look away quickly. She smiled and said hello. That’s it. And, to me, that was a big deal. So, I would try it. Man, it is hard to do.

Here’s the plan.

Next time something fun or funny is happening, don’t be an observer. Jump in. Be silly. Have fun! It will be scary but you’ll never regret the memories you make.