Traditions and Shared Meaning

Additional Information for Chapter 2, page 18

The importance of traditions and share meanings can’t be over emphasized. At one level they are simple acts (or complex ones in some instances), but their influence extends far beyond the acts themselves. As a parallel look at the names below and consider all the images that go with the name

“Bach” to a classical musician
“Hepburn” to a classic movie enthusiast
“Pele” to a soccer fan
“Hope” to a stand-up comic
“Montana” to a professional football fan
“Bryant” to an Alabama football fan
“Spielberg” to a film production major
“FDR” to a US history buff
“Patton” to an Army general
“Cobb” to a baseball historian

Some of the names listed above may reverberate with you, others may not. But to enthusiasts in each of these areas they could undoubtedly talk for days about the single word listed to the left.

Traditions are similar in that a single act may carry great significance that extends far beyond the effort required to do the act. For example tucking your children into bed at night not only keeps them warm but also says that you love them.

Traditions come from two major sources:

1) Traditions that are continued from past family traditions, national and ethnic traditions, or religious traditions. The film Fiddler on the Roof highlights these types of traditions as the very essence of Jewish culture in late 19th century Russia.

2) Activities that are initiated by a couple or family that continue over time until they eventually become traditions.

List of Traditions

What follows is a list of traditions from a variety of sources.

Ethnic or national Religious or Spiritual Romantic Family
Thanksgiving Attending church Valentines day mother’s day
Christmas Good Friday Anniversaries Father’s day
Memorial Day Easter Birthdays Special breakfast every Saturday or Sunday
Super Bowl Sunday Passover Weekly date night Family vacation
4th of July Daily Devotions Love making sunday morning Going to the park every Saturday afternoon
Chinese New Year Confirmation Making morning coffee for your spouse Movie night
Halloween Baptism Leaving I-love-you notes where your
spouse will find them
Pizza night
Veterans (Remembrance) day Prayer meeting Filling the car with gas and washing the windows before your spouse leaves for a trip Ice cream cone for  achievement celebrations

The little book mentioned in The Compatibility Code (1001 Ways to Say I Love You, published by a division of Zondervan) provides 2002 possible romantic acts, some of which may become traditions.

Traditions the Georges Enjoy

Here are examples of some traditions that are shared in our Family:

Thanksgiving: We live in Canada so students from the University where we teach are invited to join us for an American Thanksgiving. We typically have between 50 and 60 students and thoroughly enjoy planning for the event and the evening that results.

Christmas: We travel to Alabama (to Elizabeth’s parents), haul along our instruments, music and stands and play along with Christmas Carols. We share many other traditions at Christmas, but this a more unique one.

Big Breakfast: Every Saturday morning Darren fixes a big breakfast. It doesn’t’ change much from week to week except that from time to time we invite others over. Big breakfast always includes Darren’s home baked buttermilk biscuits (a work in progress), cheese smothered scrambled eggs, grits, orange juice, a variety of Smokey Mountain House jellies, and hot coffee for anyone who enjoys coffee. Despite the fundamental sameness, it never seems to grow old.

Band tour: Every spring the CUC Silverwinds band takes a tour to various parts of the US or Canada. Since all four of us play in the band this turns out to be a very special 10 days as we perform many times a explore places we have never been

Thursday date night: Elizabeth and I share a date every Thursday night. Yes life intrudes from time to time, but we don’t skip the date, we simply reschedule. What we do depends on our mood, but a common event is select a great video that suits our mood, pop corn, and watch the movie while we fight over the final kernels.

Anniversary: Every year we alternate planning our anniversary. The rules are that you keep the events secret from your spouse so the surprise is not revealed until the last moment. This past year (Darren planning) involved a night in Rocky Mountain House and a night at the Fairmont in Jasper (both Alberta) amidst some of the most spectacular scenery on earth.

Morning sequence: I give Elizabeth a 5-minute massage every morning (at 4:35 a.m., gasp!) and make coffee for her the night before so that it turns on just before she gets up.

Kiss: We kiss when departing for the day with the reminder that this is a $30,000 kiss. This is based on research that reveals that spouses who kiss in the morning make on average $30,000 per year more than spouses who don’t kiss.

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