Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tradition! Tradition!

At the beginning of the school year, we asked our 6th graders to write poems based on the George Ellen Lyon's poem "Where I'm From".  As part of the process students were asked to reflect on the things that were important to them and their families:  traditions, stories, special family foods, events, etc.  I'm a reading specialist - so I'm used to having kids balk at writing because of the difficulty of transferring thoughts into the written word.  But this year my students struggled for a different reason - many of them have no family traditions.
Even though I'm about to enter my 40s there are times when I find myself to be woefully na├»ve.  I grew up in a family steeped in tradition - some that existed before my birth, and some that were added when my sister and I were girls.  We're raising our kids in the same kind of environment.  As I watched my students struggle to complete the prewriting questions - I wondered if the way I was raised, and the way our family lives is not the norm.  Doesn't everyone live this way? 
Tradition has always been important to me.  I think that's one of the reasons I cook seasonally - it's another one of my own mini traditions.  I love comparing this year's events to the ones that have come before them, and now I hear my own children making the same comparisons.  There's a lot of "Remember when..." and "I think..." kinds of conversations happening.
My 90 year old grandmother called yesterday to remind me to set my clocks back an hour.  When I answered the phone she didn't say hello, she said... "It's tradition...".  Another one of her favorite phrases - which is now more of a family motto is... "You're building memories".  It's these shared experiences and traditions which hold us together.  They help us learn who we are, they ground us in the love of our families.  They give us shared memories that hold us solidly together.  When the kids leave for college and beyond we'll still be together through our traditions.

Halloween:  Carving and Making Our Own Costumes

Old enough to use the knife herself this year!

The annual make my face look just like my Jack O Lantern picture.

Rollers for Glinda hair

The Headless Horseman and Glinda on her way to the Emerald City (from Wicked) - Love that they both chose literary costumes this year!

Grandma's new friend 

Making Apple Dumplings

 Fall Campout and Hike to Tibet Knob

Over 75 friends joined us for our fall campout weekend to celebrate our friendships and our beautiful fall weather.

Farmer Dan demonstrates his bottle opener cap holder contraption.

Girls on the rocks

Overlook with WV in full color

Crafty Girl is a hobbit

Caramel Apples with the Thy Hand Crew

Actually, I think the adults enjoy this tradition as much as the kids.
What are your favorite family traditions? How do you bond your family together?  Hope you build some memories today.