Thursday, September 2, 2010

False Traditions

I've been thinking a lot lately about our false traditions.  The Nephites and the Israelites were continually warned that they needed to beware of the false traditions of the unbelievers around them.  They were repeatedly warned to stay away! Alma 9: 8, 16-17, Alma 17:9, 15, D & C 93:39, Old Testament References

We have a lot of false traditions in our society.  Some are silly but some are deadly.  Why do we do the things we do? The answer could be because that was what was handed down to us from our parents or because our society has shaped our thoughts.  It reminds me of the story of the ham.  I don't remember the exact details but you'll get the point.  The story goes something like this. 
A young girl was watching her mother prepare dinner.  Included in the meal was a ham.  The young girl watched as the the mother cut off the ends of each side of the ham before she put it in the oven.  The young girl asked her mother why she cut the ends off.  The mother replied that she didn't know only that her mother at done it so she continued the tradition.  When opportunity presented itself the young girl asked her grandmother why she cut the ends of the ham.  The grandmother replied that she didn't know only that she did it because her mother had done it and so she had done as her mother.  The young girl was fortunate to still have her great-grandmother living and so she asked her.  The great grandmother replied that she cut the ends of the ham because the pan she used wasn't big enough to hold the whole ham.
This story illustrates to me how there are things in our life we do with out thinking why we do them.  I have been thinking and challenging some of things in my life.  Are they just traditions; and if so are they true or false traditions?  I believe coming closer to Christ necessitates us evaluating in our life whether we are participators in false traditions.

Here are some silly things I've noticed:
  • I put the laundry soap in after I put the clothes in the wash machine. Why? That's what my mom did.  Did you know the directions on the laundry box said to add it to the water first before the clothes?
  • I have a drawer of junk.  There isn't junk anywhere else in the house, but I have a junk drawer.  Every one has a junk drawer right?
  • We always mow our lawn in a circle. Why not a line or a diagonal?  I know others do.
Then there are others that I notice.  My blogging friends do a better job at describing these things.  This summer I have enjoyed numerous blogging articles that have helped me to think and question why I do the things I do.
  • I feel the need to reward my children with "little junks" from the Dollar Store or candy for good behavior.  Or what about when they have done their chores?  See this post from my friend Heather about rewards. What about allowance?  Is that creating family unity? Or individualism?  Our kids get an allowance so they can tithing and practice saving.  What if they just helped us pay our tithing and pay our bills instead? I don't know I'm just asking. Peace.
  • We think we need a bigger house, a better car, more clothes, more, more, better, better... why? See this post from my friend the Lara, formerly the Lazy Organizer.  She is now a minimalist.  Read about her house ideas.
  • What about that TV? Why do we need it to babysit our kids? Why did I (I've changed) feel that I was entitled to a relax/wind down with a movie every night? Read my friend The Misfit Cygnet's thoughts here and here.
  • I've also been thinking a lot about organized team sports.  Are they good or can they distract us?  Read this post by my friend Rebekah about this subject.
  • Food. Grrr.  Too many posts to link here.  But my cousin (wink wink) Rebecca has some good thoughts about food. Read her post here, it's after the home schooling thoughts in the post.  Why are we embarrassed when we start feeding our children good food?  We don't seem defensive when we feed them chicken nuggets, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, pizza, etc.  Interesting huh?  About that microwave.  I hear report after report about how I am slowing killing my family by using the microwave.  Why do I still have it then?  Because life is easier with a microwave.  Death...convience...death....convenience...Why is the choice so hard? Sigh.
  • I think I feel like I need to over decorate.  I don't because I'm lazy, but I feel like I'm suppose to have cute stuff all around that displays my talents (I don't have them though).  You know dollies, reupholstered furniture, flower arrangements, modge podge pictures of the Proclamation done 12 different ways, embroidered pillows.... Why?  They just cost money, they cause brain-pain (at least for me), they must be taken care of (do you know I don't like dusting?), and they take up space.  I think perhaps I need to be okay with some empty space.  Things just are distracting and cause me to not think about spiritual things.  I have learned to love empty bowls since reading this post from the amazing Mrs. Smith, whom I have not met, but am assured that I must meet soon along with her great commenting husband Mr. Smith.
  • Another false tradition that I see sometimes creeping into my life is that I feel I'm entitled to my own time.  I'm entitled to more time.  I'm entitled to not be waiting on others so they aren't wasting my time.  Since when did I have any time really anyway? Shouldn't I be thinking in terms of others?  Shouldn't I be thinking about what God wants me to do with my time?  I think I've been duped for a long time that I'm entitled to more time than I should have.  Here are my lovely friend Karen's thoughts on time, also read the comments at the end of this blog post especially noting the comments from the blogger Tricia.
  • Women's Swimwear.  Here are some thoughts from another blogger on The Cottage at Pollywog Pond about modest swim wear.
  • Free N' Equal always pricks me hard with her posts.  She has a couple that challenge what we read.  How much bad in a book is still okay? What about if a good person wrote it?  Here's her thoughts on Twilight.
  • Music. Lest I start on another tirade with music I'll post Chocolate on My Cranium's thought.  (I'll meet you some day, right?)
  • Should women wear skirts more and what about public parks? This was one of my favorite posts this summer from Buzy Bee. Another good article along the same lines from Joyful Saint.  
  • One mistake our society has I think is that we think "teenagers" should be entitled to never ending social situations in which to play and have fun.  My cyber friend Celeste is raising young adults as opposed to teenagers and she says this.
Here are some others I've thought of.
  • I stay up later than I should because of the wonderful invention of electricity and lights. All activities in the evening start at 7 or 8. That means that we are out later and up later. It is hard to follow the counsel "retire to they bed early...."
  • Why must I always fill silence with noise? I know people that always have to have the radio (music or talk radio)or the TV on for background noise. Okay I was one of them. I didn't think it was possible to fold the laundry or do anything unless I had some nice sweet music playing. What about that pump up music for working out? I have learned since I dumped the noise, even the good things and the nice uplifting things, that I'm able to feel the Spirit more. I feel more holiness and more peace. This brings greater strength and fulfilment than anything else. I only occasionally listen to light classical music now. I'll play hymn arrangements for an hour or so every couple of weeks on Sunday.
I will stop now, lest my brain explode.  Do I laugh or cry?  It was a great summer for me though.  My cyber friends have challenged my thoughts and now I think twice about what I brush my teeth with, what I eat, what I wear, read, behave, what we do with our time......

What will the fall bring?


Cassandra said...

These are exciting thoughts and I look forward to reading the comments they inspire. :) What a lot of bloh posts that I will need to check out and read! Thanks for helping us to think through what we do and why.

crazy4boys said...

I make my own deodorant and will make toothpaste next week. But I wear jeans and t-shirts still. And I'm actually thinking of hanging MORE artsy-craftsy stuff on the walls (okay, pictures of the temple, Christ, etc) because our walls are blank.

But we can still be friends, right???? I've so appreciated your motivation, thoughts, inspiration. You, and the rest of the gang, challenge me every day. I love it. I feel so much more at peace, like I'm finally figuring out who I'm supposed to be. I am happy again! Not running around trying to find the next best thing, or comparing myself to others.

I haven't read all the posts you linked to yet, so I need to get cracking. Thanks for more food for thought. It's good to actually think about WHY we do things, instead of just going through the motions because everyone else does. Maybe after we think them through we'll decide they are valid and worthwhile, but perhaps we won't. It's a good exercise to go through though.

Whole Food for the Whole Family said...

Holidays are a big source of false tradition as well. My husband and I have altered the way we celebrate many holidays in our home. Which holiday traditions draw you closer to Christ and which push you further away from him? Just something to think about....

Being A Mother Who Knows said...

I agree on the holiday traditions. That's a whole other post! My kids have never believed in Santa. The main reason at the time was that I felt really strongly that I couldn't/shouldn't lie to my chldren. We told the kids he was just made up from day one. We've never had the Easter Bunny stop by either. They haven't seemed deprived or brain-damaged yet from the non-exposur. Time will tell though. ; ) Yeah, holiday's are good traditions to think about.

Thanks for that reminder!

Crazy, it's okay that you still wear jeans. I do to, just not as much any more. You need to give us the deodorant and toothpaste recipes. Temple and Christ pictures are good too. I've just scaled back and focused on quality over quanity. (There's the dusting issue too there).

It is fun to read everyone's ideas. Of course we won't do everything, but it's good to think these things through.

Keep the ideas comming. : )

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

I sure hope we'll meet someday!

I was just thinking along similar lines of questioning why I do things when I took my walk today. And I didn't even take my iPod! Just me and the heat. :D It was great to talk to myself with no one around.

I've been rethinking our house too. With eight children we have to think creatively - or so I thought until I decided we really didn't need all the stuff we had. Now there's plenty of room!

Just Lara said...

I'm continually asking myself and Heavenly Father what I need to change in my life. What can I give up? What do I need to add? I think I've done all I can do until the next thing comes along and I'm making more changes. When it comes right down to it there is only one thing that really needs changing at my house and that is my heart.

Maybe once the internet is gone I will have time to rip it out and get it replaced with a new and improved version. What I'm asking for here is a miracle. In the mean time I'm going to catch up on some of those links I missed.

rneweyfamily said...

I've enjoyed reading this and reading the links, but the link to Lazy Organizer isn't going through, though you should know :)

Being A Mother Who Knows said...

Thanks Tasha!

Lazy was dropping her internet service this month. So she might of dropped her website too! I hadn't thought she'd do that.

Lazy is 'Just Lara' who has already commented on this post. I'll email her. She still has internet on her phone.

My Heart Squared said...

I am inspired what Joseph Smith said when he was asked how it was that he was able to govern so many people. He replied: "I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves."

I believe all of us will find ourselves doing things out of tradition or habit. What is important is that we identify correct principles and then individually, as a couple and as a family identify those things that lead us away from Christ. We then can eliminate them from our lives. We can also evalute what brings us closer to Christ and work on them.

We are all in this journey together. I believe it doesn't matter how fast we get there, just a long as we are willing to help each other along the way.

Thank you for your thoughts! It is always good to be reminded of things we can change due to false traditions and things that we are doing well because of good traditions.

Rebekah said...

Wow! You were able to succinctly post about what I have been meaning to write more on but have not found the time necessary for me to say what I've wanted to say in many of those areas. With 4 kids 8 and younger I just don't have the time to dedicate to writing as I'd like. Before I know it I'll have all the time I want and be missing my little treasures so I won't bemoan my lack of blogging time too much! :) So thanks for this post. I've read much of the links you gave and look forward to reading the links I have not yet read. I think I will do a quick post to link up to this one on my blog.

Rebecca said...

It has been a wild summer with so many great ideas to glean. I feel blessed to have stumbled upon so many of these blogs. It feels so good to have fellow wanderers being guided in similar directions and able to help each other along the way.

Thank you again for more insights and sources. I'm wondering what false traditions I'm clinging to as I face so many thoughts.

Andrea said...

I think it comes down to the 'why'. Why do we do these things. If we do them for the sake of tradition then that's not a good enough reason. However, if we have cluttered walls because we have lots of children who love to create great art and we love to display it then that's ok. If we cut the ends off the ham because our oven is small too then that's ok too. We have to know why we do these 'traditions' and evaluate if they are necessary or not.

Being A Mother Who Knows said...

The house post from The Lazy Organizer is up again. I've edited that entry so you may want to read it again. It is the second bullet under my friends blogs.

Mr. Smith said...

Looking forward to meeting you and Mrs. Smith's other blogger friends. And yes, she is amazing, despite her repeated claims to the contrary.

Thanks for the ideas about evaluating our family's and my personal traditions. Personally, I like to walk around while brushing my teeth. I find it's an opportune time to pick things up and organize a bit, and doesn't feel so much like "wasted" time. At least the pacing burns a calorie or two, if nothing else. :D