Files, Folders, Loose Traditions

We live in a fast age.  We learn things and forget them.  We have traditions so new we don't remember them.  The other day I cleaned out my filing cabinet and realized that I have done a lot of work and collected a lot of great things--and then forgot all about them for lack of organization.  Sometimes I even did the hunting all over again.

Also, in a recent family visit, we were sharing some old stories I'd forgotten all about.  How do people preserve what's worth preserving?  Here are some of the best ideas I've run across.
  • Keep, repair, and use old family heirlooms--from watches to apple trees to homes.  When they break, they break as part of your life.  And if you use them, the significance they held for your ancestors blesses you, as you impart new significance to such things for your kids.
  • Pass such things to your children as important Christmas and birthday gifts.
  • Listen to your kids tell stories around age four or five and write them down in a big book to reread later. 
  • Keep some artwork from your kids over the years.
  • Track & organize old family recipes with addendums.  Make cookbooks for all the family (and decorate with copies of that funny kids artwork.)  Leave room to add new recipes over the years.
  • Visit favorite family places and retell the stories.
  • Visit the cemetary, leave flowers and tend the graves of your ancestors.  Pray for those whose tombs are crumbling away.
  • Keep a folder called "Happy Thoughts" or "Good Ideas" for all the loose discoveries, connections, and wonderful things you stumble upon.
  • Keep a calendar of traditions:  these recipes on these dates, these activities then.
  • Cook in front of the children.
  • Sing in front of the children.
  • Pray with the children.
  • Tell family stories, again and again.
  • Dress home and town differently for different occasions.
  • Do think twice before "changing things up a little."
  • Any skill you have, use it before the children and make it easy and desirable for them to pick it up.
I also recently watched Babette's Feast.  You can't belittle the power of simple, tangible things to carry the meaning of life to people.  Hold fast to those tangible things; pass them to the young!.  The photograph above is of Cream Cheese stollen which I make every Easter.



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