You get married and begin a family all your own. Together you build upon the traditions you both bring into your little family, and before you know it, years pass by. The traditions you build upon and the memories you make are what pull everyone back together again. There is something about tradition that gives you a sense of belonging. It reminds you who you are and where you come from and gives you that comforting feeling that you are home again.
As a grandparent, I feel an even stronger sense of responsibility to keep our traditions alive. I hear in the grandkids’ voices who are growing up so fast. Still, they get excited about being together during the holidays. We had to make a few changes over the years, and they are always most happy to come back to Granny and Pop’s old traditional way of doing things. These traditions are the things we do repeatedly so often that they become embedded in the minds of the younger generations of our family. There is comfort in knowing that we will be remembered just like our own parents and grandparents before us through the traditions we hand down.
This past year the pandemic played a bit of havoc in our traditional time spent together as a family. But in reality, it has only made us realize how important our time is together.
Reflection: It feels like the pandemic has given us another chance to see the value of what our family means to us and to build upon the importance of those valued traditions and help them grow even stronger. We are so very grateful for this time in our lives.
My husband and I went to grandparent day recently. Our morning began with the pledge of allegiance to our country’s flag. Us oldie’s but goody’s automatically put our right hand over our heart, the way we were taught in school. It brought back memories. As I said the words I found myself thinking how different our country is today. I wondered where that pride went. It sure was prevalent right after 9/11. There where flags flying everywhere even from the windows of people’s cars. Every house had one standing proudly in its rightful place. We felt what that pledge of allegiance stood for. We were one nation, under God, undivided. We cherished the freedom that our county stood for. Love for each other came shining though also as we reached out to our loved making sure that they knew how much we cared about them. We never believed something like 9/11 could happen in our country, and I can’t help but wonder why it is that terrible things have to happen to bring us together like that.
That was 15 years ago, and now all we seem to do is fight with one another right here on our own soil. We are this melting pot of people from all over the world. We’ve come together to live in this great land of freedom, and now that very freedom is being twisted around by words that justify anything and everything, even if its blatantly wrong. We can’t let the gift of freedom be turned into the very thing that destroys us.
We can’t have the kind of world we want by starting with the whole world. We can’t have the kind of country we want by startling with the vastness of that either. We have to start right where we are, first with ourselves. Then reaching out to one another with compassion, understanding, and respect for our differences. Only then can we return to belief this country was founded on. We are one nation under God, undivided, and we stand for liberty and justice for all. Be the change you want this country to be, it has to start with each one of us.
I don’t know, maybe we should get back to flying the American flag in its honored place upon our property’s. Then stand before it with our hand over our hearts pledging our allegiance to the United States of America. The land that we love. It’s like saying our daily prayers it gives us a moment of pause that reminds us who we are, what we believe, and that we’re not alone. We are one nation under God.
One of my grandsons recently said he wasn’t looking forward to going back to school because he hates homework. I chuckled and said, “ I don’t think anyone likes to do homework.” But he went on to say that he hated it because he was stupid. “Don’t say that,” I said. “You’re not stupid, and if you keep saying and believing it, you will never see how smart you really are.”
It broke my heart same as it did when my own kids thought it at one point or another. It even opened wounds of my own, as I remembered how hard school was for me because I believed the same thing.
I later tried to sit him down and get him to think about how wonderful made he is. That God doesn’t make mistakes, and that there’s this wonderful power he gives that allows us to see ourselves in whatever way we want to. Of course as you’ve probable guessed by now, it went in one ear and out the other. He’s a child and he’s not able to comprehend that. Even as adults we find it hard to tap into that power. We have to be willing and open to see something beyond our limited mind. It’s there, always has been, and always will be. It sits in waiting for us to discover it when we’re ready.
How did I see my own worth? One day as a young adult, someone told me that God doesn’t make mistakes. When I was told that there was no one else in the world like me, and that no one could do what I alone was created to do. When I understood that everyone was unique in their own way, it was then that something opened up in me, and I began to see that my life had meaning, and it was all my own. It doesn’t even matter how smart a person is, it won’t help them understand any better. You have to be willing and open to see something different, and then you have to work at changing all those old thought patterns. Oh…how freeing it is when this understanding awakens in us.
As for our kids and grandchildren, there is still the work we can do to show them the same worth God has shown us. We love, encourage, build them up, and most of all listen. In this way we become an expression for them what God has become for us. You don’t need some big revelation in your life to do this, just start from your deepest sense of goodness and watch the miracles it creates for you and them.
Today’s question ask me to share a memory about what I did to stay cool during a heatwave in my childhood.
Now just imagine on this very day, the hottest of the summer yet, not having the comfort of air conditioning to escape the discomfort. There was no excuse for staying inside because it was hotter there than outside under a tree or any shade you could find. If we didn’t have a stream or pool to cool off in we ran through the sprinkler, squatter each other with squirt guns, filled water balloons and tried to make as much fun as we could cooling off. Sitting inside the house in front of a fan was too boring and didn’t help much anyway. I knew when the night came I’d be laying in front of one tossing and turning. Going from the head of the bed to the foot of it, trying to find the coolest spot to lay. Hair damp at the nap of my neck as well as the rest of my body. It was the fan blowing on my damp skin that eventually gave me the relief I needed to fall asleep.
Thinking back I realize that even with the lack of comfort back then we used our imaginations to find ways to make a bad situation the best it could be. My advice with the wisdom I’ve gained through my many decades of life is not to let the many comforts you now have keep you from finding ways to use your own wonderful imagination.