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Has anyone seen Fiddler on the Roof? It is a musical set in imperial Russia in 1905. The story centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters. Throughout the production, Tevye attempts to hold true to his Jewish traditions but outside forces creep in and change happens. It’s a longer movie, but so worth it. Tevye’s hold to tradition above all else eventually withers away as he and his family are forced to leave their village by the Tsar’s edict…Change happens…to all of us.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a few customs to hold onto…Traditions within the family can cause a cohesiveness that is hard to duplicate. Traditions can create memories which will last throughout lifetimes. The McGarvey’s have a few traditions of our own…

IMG_3835My husband is a sports lover. Fortunately, he married a sports-loving woman because we really enjoy watching and/or participating in lots of sports. And of course, we raised our two sons to be sports nuts as well. And we were very, very successful. I guess we aren’t as extreme as some families, but we taught our kids how to play all those sports at a young age. Boys_golf_partnersAs homeschoolers, we could take an afternoon and go play 18 holes of golf or start up a quick kickball game in the backyard. And sports watching is a sport in our house. The girls that love my guys have had to get used to this…and I love them for it.

This so happens to be our favorite time of year – when all the stars align, and all our sports are happening at the same time. We are a March Madness family – we’ve filled out brackets for 20 years (David wins most often). We’ve seen the process morph from copying it out of the Monday morning newspaper to multiple online bracket groups. It is also the start of baseball (two Cub fans, two Cardinal fans) and The Masters (golf, for those not sports-minded) is only a few weeks away.Cubs_fans

Our traditions center around activities we enjoy and have enjoyed together. When the kids were younger, we spent our short vacations in the Wisconsin Dells, specifically the Wilderness Resort. We have a loyalty to that location that will keep us from enjoying any other Dells resort. It’s Wilderness or nothing. It’s our tradition.

About six years ago I started listening to the music of a certain band, NEEDTOBREATHE. I bought five tickets to see the band in Chicago (side note: we also took in a Cub game on that trip – we love our sports). The boys and I (with their two girlfriends) attended the concert and we were hooked. It was so much fun – not just the concert, but the whole day spent with family, in a new location, doing fun things, being flexible, enjoying each other. We still tell stories of that first concert in Chicago. We attended two more concerts that year (St. Louis and Iowa City). We’ve tried to attend at least one NTB concert each year, not just because we enjoy their music, but because we enjoy each other. We make the whole trip an experience filled with memories with people we love. Even Don’s gone a couple of times. It’s our tradition.Concert_goers

So, I have 4 small suggestions for beginning any tradition in your family:

  • Make it something all of you enjoy…or at least a large majority. Because we all love baseball, we can handle attending either Cubs or Cardinals games (though two of us will always be less ecstatic than the other two) but since only one of us is a Hawkeye fan, we don’t choose to go to any Iowa sport together.
  • Don’t adhere to too many absolutes. We fill out our brackets each year, but we don’t maintain the method must stay the same. Paper or online – doesn’t matter. We go to our annual NTB concert, but we don’t have to eat the same food every time or only see them in one city. In fact, we like seeing them in lots of different locations. Flexibility within the tradition gives you more great memories.
  • You are never too old to start a tradition. Our concert going idea started when my kids were already grown, and I was in my fifties. I’m looking forward to starting new traditions in the future.
  • Keep it simple. Allow life to happen, and as it does, natural traditions will begin on their own. Forcing traditions onto your family may backfire and cause more stress than joy.

I hope you enjoy a few simple traditions –  Making memories with family is the most important thing.

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