Passing Down Traditions
How to pass down traditions from generation to generation is up to us, Darlings. We are the glue that holds the family together and we also hold all the combinations to our family’s past. We are the storytellers and teachers who can present vivid stories of our past and teach our grands the importance of family traditions. We are Grandmothers or the Grandwomen of families.
Many of our grandchildren have no idea of what a multigenerational family lifestyle looks or feels like. But, they are aware they are missing out on consistent bonding with their grandparents, aunties, and uncles, and cousins, and the large family gatherings around the holidays and birthday celebrations and family discussions. They hear their parents discussing their personal unhappiness when they are unable to attend a family event because of the miles that separate today’s family.
The nucleus of the present family is often made up of the parents and their children due to the new lifestyle I call, the ‘great move’ because of better jobs, better weather or for a new adventure.
YOUNG FAMILIES CRAVE FAMILY
I’m aware that our adult children and grandchildren crave family togetherness because my family suggests ideas for get-togethers months in advance. Obviously this is because they look forward to spending time with family members
Next week, my Ultimate Concierge and pooch America are off to Arizona for a grand’s graduation. In June we will fly to Austin, Texas for a grand’s birthday. Thanksgiving is already on the books in our home in California. These are the times you can share stories and give them the gift of a wonderful family experience to store in their heads. This is a teaching mechanism without teaching! It is showing them by example. My Ultimate Concierge and I never say no to an invitation unless there is an extenuating circumstance and never over an existing social event. My daughter, daughter-in-law and I are always at the helm of the event. This shows our grandchildren the importance of the family that plays together stays together.
The word tradition reminds me of the play, Fiddler on the Roof. The Fiddler, Tavia, can easily fall off a rooftop while playing his fiddle. So can the traditions of a family’s culture, religion and family lifestyle. Therefore, in order to be a Grandwoman with moxie, we must keep family traditions alive. Tradition, tradition and more tradition is a gift to leave in our grandchildren’s head so they will crave this as adults.
TRADITIONS ARE MAINTAINED THROUGH GRANDMOTHER STORYTELLING
My mother saved the first letter my father wrote inviting her on a first date. She was eighteen years old and now she is 98 years young. The letter will survive because I will have it laminated and eventually give it to one of my daughters to hand down to one of my grandchildren. My mother also saved and carefully put away every card my brother and I sent to her and every note we wrote to her. My mother has a fairy to guard and protect her that I gave her twenty-five years ago. It is still hanging in a special place and the family photographs of my great-grandparents and the rest of our family are displayed perfectly like fine stones placed in a setting of the jewelry.
My mother and father and grandparents had holiday celebrations and all my relatives spent happy times with one another. This was not lost on me as a child and I am sure your childhoods are not lost on you. These traditions we observe are forever ingrained in us.
It is now up to us to pass the torch of tradition to our young families.
I am my mother’s daughter
I carry all of my family’s stories and traditions in my head. She taught me well as did my grandmothers and grandfathers and other relatives. Their way of life, their thoughts, their ideas, their culture, their delicious cultural recipes, their work ethic, their charitable hearts, their warmth, and vitality are who I am. And, your traditions are similar in style to your family’s.
Family traditions should be integrated into our grandchildren’s life with personal family stories from grandma. You have the delicious opportunity to introduce your grands to each relative. Tell them the story of why and how their great-grandparents immigrated to America. Explain what they experienced in order to adapt to a new life. Tell their love stories. Tell your story!
I display family possessions in our home. I am certain you do also. But, have you taken your grandchildren by the hand and said, “Your great-grandmother gave this to me. I treasure it because I loved her so much. Let me tell you a story about her.”
The Art of Sentimental Gift-Giving
I also send only sentimental gifts and notes of love.
Now my grandchildren, including all the boys, send me sentimental gifts. This is another tradition in our family. Gifts should be from their heart expressing love. Because of this, they send me a small heart, a turtle to add to my collection, a magic wand (I am big on magic wands), a saying (I am big on sayings). One grandson sent me a yellow flower pot with a lavender flower to plant because he knows I am a nature lover. Gifts from the heart are a tradition in our family. My daughters learned this tradition from me and my grandchildren learned this from them.
A Family’s Moral Code
The moral code of a family is passed down from generation to generation. Talk about your grandchildren’s great-grandfather and his hard work ethic and your great-grandmother inviting people in for dinner who were in need of help. Talk about their first relative to graduate from college and an Uncle who had the courage to move to a foreign country to strike out on his own, and on and on.
The Voice of Tradition
Grandmothers and Grandwomen our the voice of tradition. Scream out with your stories. Send texts, emails, go on Facebook, call them on skype, the phone or use Zoom. Whatever it takes! Don’t allow the family links to snap.
Darlings, keeping traditions alive is much tougher today. We are all ‘Fiddlers on the Roof’ who can easily fall off the roof just as our traditions can fall out of Vogue if we allow it. So, we won’t.
We will try a little harder and travel a little further and love a little harder because we are the guardians of the gate to keep the tradition alive in our family. Amen.
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