Traditions are very powerful.
Traditions bind generations together. Traditions bring comfort during change. Traditions add meaning to routines. Traditions make the unbearable more enjoyable.
Elementary School Music Programs are not so powerful.
Elementary School Music Programs test the generations. They bring discomfort, provide little meaning and are usually downright unbearable.
Tradition has changed all that for me.
This was our 8th year of attending an Elementary School Music Program involving one or more of our children. During those first few years, I arrived early, eager to get a good seat so that I could see my child and they could see me. Other eager parents and family members would annoy me by standing to take pictures, talking through the entire program, or letting their small children run around unsupervised. I took pictures and movies, I waved - everything a parent is required to do!
After a few years (and a few too many programs), I started to lose my enthusiasm. The programs were the same every year: same songs and same dances...over and over again. Parents who talked, kids who whined, instruments that squeaked - it just got on my nerves. Of course, I went to every performance. But I was beginning to dread them.
Then, something happened this year. Maybe it's the fact that our youngest will be in 6th grade next year. Only one more year of Elementary School. Maybe it's the fact that the Musical Programs are shorter. Maybe it's the fact that we also have a teenager, so I've learned to appreciate the innocence of grade school? Ok, maybe not. Whatever the reason, I found myself looking forward to the Elementary School Music Program this evening.
As I stood in the gym, surrounded by parents with cameras, whining children, and the all-around general organized chaos, I realized what I was enjoying. Here we were in the same gym, sitting in the same folding chairs, listening to the same songs. (Ode To Joy and Pepperoni Pizza were among the hits ). I was surrounded by tradition. The talking didn't bother me, because I could still hear the songs. The whining children didn't bother me...because they weren't mine. My camera's batteries were dead, but the tradition was locked in my memory.
Tradition makes the unbearable more enjoyable.
Sometimes life can seem unbearable. God is my Tradition for getting through those unbearable times. He binds generations together. He brings comfort during change. And He makes the unbearable more enjoyable. He's the Tradition I need everyday.
Today is Ash Wednesday - the first day of Lent. Begin a new tradition with God. A prayer journal will be mine. What new tradition will you begin?