Let The Good Times Roll!

Laissez les bon temps roulez! Today in real-time was Mardi Gras and everyone in America was an honorary Cajun. [Lin/Linda here: for those of us who don’t speak French, the first sentence is a Cajun French phrase that is literally translated from the English expression “Let the good times roll.”]

Elementary school had its traditional luncheon, paid for by the money made by the soda machines. There was no real, Cajun food served but we still enjoyed it.

Good cake. In the past we had a King Cake, complete with a little, plastic baby Jesus baked inside. Whoever came up with the idea of BAKING the Christ Child? Is it a sin to swallow the baby Jesus doll? Mid Atlantic state Methodist here. I have no clue.

Just the same, no plastic Jesus this year because he would have doubled the cost of the cake. Guess we did not need to worry about swallowing it although we remembered the year someone almost did just that!

Be that as it may, we have had the tradition of decorating the teachers’ lounge and wishing we were all in New Orleans for a number of years now. (High school has a couple of pots of jambalaya brought in. I probably should eat over there!) Groups form traditions and traditions are a good thing.

Vision loss and isolation (such filthy language I use!) tend to get us away from traditions. This is not a good thing. Ten Benefits of Family Traditions (and, yes, school is a family) lists the benefits of maintaining them.

Traditions help us maintain a shared identity and feelings of belonging. They generate wonderful memories that we can share and increase that feeling of belonging. “Exactly who was that who almost choked on baby Jesus?….That’s right!”

Traditions organize our world, give us a sense of structure and help us navigate change. They prove comfort and security through the familiar in contrast to that change. In that way they can help us deal with loss and even trauma.

Traditions give us the opportunity to work together to solve problems. They teach us practical skills (like the Heimlich maneuver when somebody chokes on said plastic baby Jesus?…. Ouch! Don’t hit me!) and impart values, beliefs, culture and heritage. All told not a half bad return on our soda machine profits.

So the next question becomes how can you maintain traditions in your lives? Doesn’t have to be big or elaborate. We have lots for the kids. For example, March 2 is Theodore Geisel’s birthday. You know him better as Dr. Seuss. The menu that day? All together now…GREEN EGGS AND HAM. Everyone also reads The Cat in the Hat. Almost mandatory.

After that we are all Irish for the day on March 17th. Wearin’ of the green and “Kiss me. I’m Irish.” even if the other 364 days of the year we are Asian or Black or Heinz 57 Varieties.

And the 11th reason to maintain traditions is they are often just plain fun. Don’t have to be elaborate. Don’t have to be involved. Traditions are what you make. Go make some.

Next: beware snake oil

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