I believe in tradition. Every year on Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving my whole family goes to my Aunt Laura’s house. The younger kids go downstairs and games in the basement while the older kids go upstairs and listen to music. The aunts all go into the kitchen to cook and the uncles go in the living to read the newspaper, do crossword puzzles, or sometimes even take a nap. This is the way it has always been. Every holiday, everyone just goes to their usual spot and no one ever questions it. I used to think this was the dumbest thing ever. Most of my friends stayed at their own houses for holidays, and that made me curious about why my family always left the house. I always wondered why we couldn’t cook the turkey this year, or why the Easter egg hunt couldn’t be in my own backyard. I used to get so mad at my mom for making me go places besides my house when it was my vacation. I always asked her why we had to go. Every time I asked her, she gave me a very simple answer. “Because we’re family and that’s what family’s do”. When I was younger, I didn’t understand what she meant. I questioned it for a couple more years and then finally gave up, but now that I’m older I understand. Families don’t have to spend time together; they don’t even need to spend time together. They do it because they want to. Tradition isn’t something forced on families; it’s just something that they do so they stay connected. Lately it seems that families just fall apart as easily as sprinkles fall off a melting ice cream cone. Tradition brings people together. Many people think that if they miss one picnic, or one graduation, it won’t matter. People don’t realize how easy it is to fall into the habit of missing one day here, and one day there, until eventually families see each other maybe once a year. Children aren’t seeing their grandparents, and aunts and uncles don’t see their nieces and nephews. It’s hard enough to see my cousins and aunts and uncles working around everyone’s work schedules and school plays and soccer practice. Every year I look forward to Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas because I know I’ll get to spend time with people that I haven’t seen in a few months, people that love and care about me. Tradition brings people close, and it helps keep them from drifting too far away from each other. I believe in tradition because of the way it brings people together and keeps them close.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.