The second area identified by Dr. Thomas Fleming as an area needing preserving is tradition. Traditions can only be preserved if you have them, and know them. It is important to know what your traditions are. The importance of traditions is what has kept many cultures alive and vital during difficult times. In the area of preserving tradition, here are some things to do now.
1. Find and buy good histories. Read them, give them as gifts. If you know personal stories or anecdotes, share them with your children.
2. Use the holidays to remember God’s blessings upon you and your family. Family get to gathers on the Holidays are a good way to start traditions. It will be important to include gratefulness as part of the tradition. Gratefulness often goes hand in hand with love. Expressing gratitude to people who have played a role in your traditions is a good start.
3. Know and discuss your traditions with your children. (This may be meal time traditions, ways that you celebrate holidays, etc. In our home, we make it a point to watch the movie Gettysburg in the days leading up to the 4 July holiday to remember what happened there, especially since we lost family at the railroad cut. Seeing the movie changes the “government of the people, by the people and for the people”).
4. Know the history of your family and share stories of what traditions have been handed down in your family. This may be as simple as some of the names you call food items, or songs that have been passed down through the generations.
5. Pass along family recipes. Food preparation and meals are an important part of traditions.
6. Listen to music that embodies the values and traditions that are important to you. Passing along traditions through song is one of the main ways other cultures have preserved their values.
7. Associate your family with a particular set of traditions. A tradition can be behavior that continues being repeated within your family, community or social circle.
8. Cherish the Southern flag. Have it displayed in your home. Associate it with the values and times that you share within the home.
9. Visit local historic sites. Statues and landmarks can become traditions within families over time. Whenever your family passes by that location, they will remember what you all did there. In my family, we did a re-enactment of the surrender of Santa Anna to Sam Houston at San Jacinto. To this day, our sons recall that episode whenever we visit the area.
10. Don’t let the Yankees steal your history. Tell history from the perspective of your State and the South. Look at events from how Biblical precepts were involved. It will open up your eyes to many events and start new traditions. Modernists want to cut off people from their history, because that gives them orientation, purpose and identity. When you give your children history, you give them traditions and heritage. It is still acceptable to celebrate Jefferson Davis’s birthday on 3 June or the victory at Manassas on 21 July.
11. Have family meal times together. If possible, try to cook some of them in the home.
12. Display pictures of family members from past generations in the home. This helps remind the children they are part of a line of people. It brings a sense of accountability, and reassures them of their place in the world. One of the things about traditions is that they provide us with a sense of place and purpose.
13. Do new things with your kids. The more unique experiences, the more imprinting occurs. Try taking them out to a shooting range, take them hunting, take them fishing. If you and they enjoy it, do it again.
14. Spend time discussing religious topics together. Be willing to debate them. Children need to know not only what you believe, but why you believe it. Share with them what your grandparents or parents believed. A godly heritage is worth more than material possessions.
This list will give you some places to start the process of building traditions. Since traditions involve rituals, values, history, memory, and sensory experiences, I have included a wide array of things that can be done now to preserve traditions within your family. These may not seem earth shattering, but items like these can strengthen families to where they become healthy and vital again. We are in this for the long haul, which may mean keeping traditions alive for generations.
Free the South!
J MurrahCulture, Dr. Thomas Fleming, Film, Food and Drink, preserving traditions