Sunday, July 3, 2011

AML Balancing old and new traditions for family and community at Fourth of July and Ann Arbor Summer Festival

When my seven-year-old son, Little Brother, came home from school and said that his first grade class would be talking about family traditions the next day, his older sisters all simultaneously said, “Uh oh.”

Because our family talks about traditions a lot more than “normal” people, his sisters jokingly call a lot of things “tradition” that are not really traditions in the normal sense. However, because Little Brother is so little, he cannot always tell when his sisters are joking. What if he thinks these are real traditions and tells his classmates about them?

For example, whenever Hao Hao does anything that bothers her older sister M — including going into her room and sitting on her bed and reading her books, she insists that she has to do it because, “It’s tradition!” Whenever anyone breaks out into song and dance, the stated reason is always because, “It’s tradition!”

Every Friday night we have dumplings for dinner before Chinese School. Is it because Mommy is too tired to cook on Friday nights? No, it is because, “It’s tradition!”

M always argues back, “It’s not a tradition just because you say it is.”

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