Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Yes, I saw Fiddler on the Roof today, so the song is in my head. And it's hard not to reflect on the effect of tradition in my life--in all of our lives--and how we react when traditions have to change. For, while we may not hold on to tradition quite as strongly as the character of Tevye, we tend to build our lives around a certain number of things we can count on. Our traditions give us stability (well, at least a little stability). They help us to know what to expect. They give us a bit of control in a world that often feels out of control.

So, what happens when our traditions have to change? When a new job changes our hours or our days off? What happens when our children age, forcing us to adjust to their changing needs?

Among the things that I have learned over the past few years (and believe me, I've learned a lot!) is that while our traditions may give us the strength to survive change, our ability to adapt our traditions as we change may be what truly keeps us strong. Schedules may alter how we can celebrate and when we can interact with our family and friends, but it is our willingness to work with our schedules that allows us to maintain those interactions. Finances may dictate how far we can venture and how much we can do, but it is our financial creativity that allows us to make new somethings out of nothing, to use what we have, rather than what we don't.

As we head into a time of year during which most of us are surrounded by traditions--the ones we keep, and the ones we must re-examine--I am hopeful that I can take the idea of tradition and make it a reality that works for me and my loved ones now. It is not easy to adjust our traditions, but in doing so, we can hold the past in one hand while reaching out to the future with the other. Letting our traditions change may not make for the perfect musical theatre ending, but I have to believe it will help us come back again and again to see what will happen in the next show.

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