I am a sucker for all things traditional. I mean the kind of traditional in the way you behave, live, and treat others. I was taught to respect my elders and people in authority, and I still do. I address those with m’am and sir when it is called for. It doesn’t matter what a person’s social or financial status is, they all deserve to be respected in that way.
I wipe my feet at the door before entering someones home, and sometimes, I even take my shoes off if it’s the custom or tradition of the household. I love how many older homes had a formal sitting room where you could meet and greet visitors in a formal manner. A room where you had the “fancy” furniture with a tea cart to serve coffee or tea, and you treated your guest with respect and honor. I love the fact there was heirloom furniture and decorative art handed down from the previous generation proudly displayed and hoped to pass on to the next.
I love manners and etiquette in the traditional sense, regardless of where you are from. I love to sit down to a meal, even when I am eating alone, with the “fancy” dinnerware and flatware, linen dinner napkins, a view of the outdoors, and no technology. I love to pause and say grace over my food. I love that I still hear mother’s voice when I get off track reminding me to do the right thing, even though she has been gone for 18 years. I love that both of my boys who are now respectful young men hear my voice reminding them to treat their elders and those of authority with respect, chew with their mouth closed, remove their elbows from the table while eating, and never ever blow their nose at a dinner table. I know they do because I observe how well they hold themselves in private as well as public, and how they watch others that have never heard that voice.
Right now, our world is transitioning. We have experienced so many advancements in technology that has made our lives dramatically easier and convenient. Most of us (me too) can’t remember what life was like without a smart phone or even a simple cell phone. My dad has neither. He still has and uses a land line, but we have not had a telephone conversation in about 3 or 4 years now. Instead, we FACETIME on his iPad. I message him, but he doesn’t message back. It’s a comfort to him to just get a message and is all that matters to him. With so much technology, we’ve allowed ourselves to be disconnected with real life. We’ve lost the ability to interact and communicate with each other in the real world. It’s like we’re Neo or Agent Smith from the Matrix. With that said, I’m optimistic about our future. I’m observing more and more that people are craving that personal, more intimate relationship with real people instead of technology. We all desire to be more connected with the natural environment and our with our past. Consider the DNA testing that is available now to better understand our ancestors and where they came from. We want to know who we are, and why we are! All of that brings us back to our traditions and why we have them. Not all traditions have been good ones. I prefer to acknowledge, remember, and learn from the bad traditions, then focus on continuing the good ones that unite and bind us together. Those remind me “who” and “why” I am. I can chose the “what” I am for myself. Observing and continuing traditions is comforting and makes me happy. I prefer to do things that make me happy.
Be traditional! Invest in something of artisan heirloom quality that makes you happy. You’ll have it forever and can pass on to the next generation. Put away the paper napkins on occasion and treat yourself with a linen napkin even if it just breakfast. Discard the multitude of plastic cups with restaurant advertising and use a real glass, maybe even crystal. Turn off the phone and have a real conversation. Or just watch the birds or squirrels have their breakfast while you eat yours. I remember my mother and grandmother would always say they were saving this or that for special special occasions. They aren’t around to enjoy them anymore and I miss them terribly. I hold on to a few items that reminds me of them and use them at every opportunity I can.
Make today and tomorrow a special occasion and use the “fancy” dishes, sit in the special chair and relish in its comfort, share coffee with a friend, and treat everyone with the respect and honor they deserve.
Thanks for sharing your time with me!