A race to the finish - all part of the tradition
As we were driving home last night from a wonderful crazy
dinner at dear friends, with too many people, dogs and food, I began to think
of the role tradition plays in our lives.
The traditions of the season are part of what helps us make
sense of our lives. We use those traditions as markers or signposts; as value
checkpoints. Whether it is a carol service, lighting of the Hanukah candles, or
joining the crowds at the airport to welcome a loved family member. When the stress increases or tempers get
short, we need to turn our values meters up higher and think about what is
important and then invoke the option of sliding. What can we let slide this
year and what are the foundational values to which we need to adhere?
For many it has been a tough year. Perhaps now is an
opportunity to create new traditions. Even though giving up the old ways can be
stressful, focusing on what is going to remain the same can ease the change. Reinventing
our future from a perspective of choice can make us feel somehow more fortunate
while creating a sense of moving forward.
Tradition is how we deepen meaningful relationships and
events that are important in our lives. It is a way of adding certainty to
uncertain times and situations. Many years ago as a small and new family, we
started our own tradition with our children of giving the gift of a special
book to be opened on Christmas Eve. A few years ago, we started giving to a
favourite charity of our client's in their name. For many years, we have held a
neighbourhood drop-in the Saturday before Christmas. Every year as the hour for
the drop-in approaches we sit alone and wonder if anyone will come this year
(it's become a tradition.) Suddenly the house is full and we have to make an
emergency run to the beer store. Giving to others is a strong value we share as
a couple and a community. The preparation, the baking, the family coming, going
to church choosing a tree (referred to as tree fighting by our daughter), the
party giving, the gift giving are simply a way for us to demonstrate our
Organizations also have their traditions. Creating chaos by
rapidly changing or discarding traditional ways of doing business is often
viewed as a great way of "shaking up the troops." However, is the right message
being communicated to accompany the change? In one organization we are working
with, tradition is very important. A recent senior hire was viewed with concern
as being someone who might swoop in creating a lot of change without the
requisite understanding of how the organization "traditionally operates." Once
they understood the leader's instincts as an initiating Fact Finder and Follow
Thru they realized that change would be measured, thoughtful and based on
discussion with this individual at the helm. The leader was also a centred
people person with a clear sense of leadership based on his Enneagram
Successful leaders understand the value of change and the
importance tradition plays in the change process. Ensuring that clarity and
certainty surround the change initiative results in successful transformations.
Successful organizations have the courage to change but take the time to
understand what needs to stay the same and are committed to building their
future together with their people.
The value of tradition is in the deepening of the meaningful
relationship. Understanding others' traditions gives us a unique perspective on
understanding them as individuals. It is an opportunity to share, learn and
love. Each of us has a different set of traditions. This diversity has the
potential to bring us closer.
Wishing all of you the best for your joyous season filled with
traditions both old and new and for an adventurous 2010.
Marilyn and Gordon