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September 1, 2012

The Joy Lady: Nothing wrong with tradition — if we know why we are being traditional

Last week my daughter called me from Maryland in tears.

It was the first day of kindergarten for her firstborn child.

She: “Mom, putting Lucas on the bus was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Me: “I know. I remember how I felt when I sent you off to kindergarten.”

She: “What was worse was he was so excited, he got on the bus before I could even take his picture.”

Me: “I’m sorry. But at least you will have the memory.”

She: “When he found his seat, I walked to where he was sitting and told him through the window that I was sorry I didn’t get a picture of him getting on the bus. He told me, ‘Oh, Mom, you can take my picture later. After all, I’ll be getting on the bus every day!’”

Me: “That’s my boy!”

She: “I think I’m going home and make some apple turnovers maybe even a pie so Lucas can have some when he gets home from school.”

Me: “But don’t you have to go to work today?”

She: “No, I took the day off work. I wanted to carry on the tradition.”

Me: “The tradition?”

She: “You know. THE tradition … the one where you took off work on the first day of school each year and baked some really nice treats for us when we got home from school. I always loved it when you did that and I want to carry on the same tradition with my kids.”

Through my laughter, I told my daughter I was amazed that she thought those first day of school traditions of taking off work and baking goodies were for her! Didn’t she know those things were for my benefit, not for her or her brother? I took off work because I wanted the entire day in the house alone. With my husband at work and my children (thankfully) now in school, I used the day for some wonderful traditions of my own: reading a good book with no children interrupting me while smelling something wonderful baking in the oven.

She: “Well, that explains your lack of tears when we got on the bus! But as far as tradition goes, it’s not a bad one, is it?”

Me: “Enjoy your day, sweetheart. You’ve waited five years for it, now go enjoy it!”

Traditions can be great things. There’s a certain comfort in doing the same things in the same way at the same time with the same people and getting the same results. There’s nothing wrong with tradition — if we know why we are being traditional. However, just because we grew up doing — or worshipping or singing — a certain way does not mean we fully understand what the Bible says about what we are doing — or worshipping or singing.

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human traditions and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ,” (Colossians 2:8).

Verna Davis, speaker and writer, may be reached at

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