Commentary: Jokes aside, leaders remind us to lighten up too

There’s nothing like an April Fools’ joke or being tricked by one to get your attention.

On April 1, 2010, it happened to me as a joint staff journalist at the National Guard Bureau when every assignment seemed critical. I was always traveling, I was under deadlines, and I was sure that I would not make it to my next active duty tour if I slowed down. I wrote incessantly from the command information office near the Pentagon.

There were lots of general officers and chiefs to support. Those top leaders, who were much busier than I was, always seemed relaxed, approachable, and ready to lift spirits through their humor. In contrast, I felt a bit stressed and exhausted. There seemed no time to think about jokes.