I ran across this essay on "This I Believe" on npr. She and her husband describe the top three qualities of "The person I want to bring into this world" to be: honesty, caring about others, and the ability to laugh at yourself. I heartily agree with their pick. Especially the last. I've always felt that this was a really important virtue, but she explains why so well:
I believe that if you can laugh at yourself, it probably means you like
yourself, deep down inside, and you know that you're no better and no worse than anybody else. You'll probably have fun in life. And most importantly, you're more likely to forgive yourself when you're not always honest and you're not always caring.
My parents weren't perfect, and they didn't try to be, but this is one thing that they did really well. Humor was a form of affection in our family. We all learned to laugh, at ourselves especially. I remember hard times that our family went through, and in the midst of those hard times we were still laughing, sometimes at the hard times, sometimes in spite of the hard times. I thought about this while my brother Joe was home this week; I remember sitting at our dinner table, the six of us, Joe making everybody laugh, and thinking, "he's saving us right now by laughing. Laughter just saved us."