Tradition, is it the Birthplace of Our Legacy?

:02 read “Tradition wears a snowy beard, romance is always young.” ~ John Greenleaf Whittier

The word “tradition” chaps some people. Ok, sometimes it even bugs the crap out of them. It’s so beige, I get it. After all, “we’ve always done it that way” is a pretty lame excuse for doing it that way. The mere mention of the word tradition conjures up images of stuffy, boring and humorless practices and “snowy beards”, you know? It’s just not with it and we all want to be with it, right?

How about if we take a look at it from a different point of view, could we? No argument from me, it’s the past that gives birth to tradition. Old days, old ways. No doubt about it. But think about it this way, maybe it’s meant simply to serve as a foundation. Nothing more than that, necessarily. Maybe it becomes what we build on so we can go on to design our life and our unique legacy.

Is our legacy born in tradition?

There’s an argument to be made for it. In our own family, we had little rituals and things we did a certain way. I think every family does. When we raised our daughters we owned a bustling gift shop and a small manufacturing company. The holidays meant crazy busy days and long hours. We focused on just a few activities but it made them memorable. For example, no matter what, one night each week we put candles on the table and ate our supper off an inexpensive set of unbreakable Christmas dishes. Mac and cheese, maybe goulash; simple fare but a special moment. It was our little tradition.

Today, both our daughters are married and have a family. Even our grandkids aren’t little anymore. In fact, our oldest will graduate in the spring. The world is a different place and life moves at a frantic pace. But happily, the childhood traditions planted in their growing up years have blossomed into a legacy of family bonds and yes, traditions. Joy fills my heart. My husband and I are no longer in leading roles. We’ve moved from center stage, but the way they celebrate life with their families assures me we’re still very much a part of the narrative.

“Please think about your legacy because you’re writing it every day.” ~Gary Vaynerchuk

I encourage you to embrace the traditions that shaped your worldview. Honor them. They made you the person you are. Now, take the best and weave them into your individual story, a tapestry formed with your voice with your words. Paint your picture using your favorite colors. Create your unique traditions and stitch them into your personal legacy. I wish you love and joy. Have a blessed holiday season!


  • Grant Newbold

    Thanks Betty. I like the idea of traditions as “foundations.” My wife has many traditions around the holidays and I’m trying to be more sensitive to her need for those than I have been in the past. Part of the change is that we are “empty nesters” and our sons are both a long distance away which will make this holiday a very different one for us. One son is in Ohio and one is in California and no one is planning to travel for this coming holiday. So “serving our Worthy Values” related to the holidays this year will depend more than ever on using technology better for the personal connections that we need. Clearly creating “Legacies of Greatness” takes many forms and the content of this blog post shows how Betty’s family has built legacies of connection that continue in the present time. Thanks Blog reader for accessing our website. Please consider subscribing and using our summary to help each of Betty’s great blogs make more connection for you. Talk to you again soon. Doc Newbold.

    • Betty Streff

      We’re fortunate our girls seek to use what they grew up with to create their own special ways to celebrate. A wee bit of advice: It takes time and as parents, patience is important!

  • Beckie

    I loved your post this morning ~ read it right after my workout.
    The traditions I’ve weaved into my own tapestry are what I wanted you to see last night. I invited you to stop by because I wanted to show you how the magic of Christmas that you and Dad created has been passed down, and will continue on to the next generation. ??

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