Throughout the ages legacies have been passed down through a variety of means: stories, songs, chants, feasts, celebrations, recipes and drawings. These traditional methods are additional to habits we inadvertently pass on. My sister recently wrote to tell me of an incident involving her money conscious, eleven-year-old son, ironically enough named Cache. (When he was eight years old he asked his mom to have the drive-through taco shop leave off his lettuce, cheese and tomato so they would charge her less. My sister worried that money was consuming too much of his little brain’s think space.) The recent letter she wrote said, “Last night the boys came home from scouts so excited to tell me about their campout planned for Saturday. Cache showed me the list of things he was to bring and said, "Mom, I got all the cheapest stuff."
I replied, "You did? Well how did you get that lucky?"
He said, "Well they wrote everything up on the board and I figured out they were going to ask us to bring the stuff so I looked through it and found the cheapest things. When they asked for everybody to volunteer to bring five things, I raised my hand the fastest and named the things I wanted to bring. I had it all figured out—I didn't want to bring any of the meat because it's expensive. So I volunteered our tent, because we already have that. I volunteered some water because we have that too. Then, I volunteered eggs because we've got those, too. The rest of the stuff had to be bought so I chose hotdog buns, but only twelve, and paper cups, but only twelve of those. Do you think those were the cheapest?"
Rachel’s letter continued, “I just sat in horrified, mystified, shock. Where did he come from? Who taught him to be this way? How do I kill that ugly monster inside him? And, last but not least, I fear for his dear wife.” Then she added, “I laughed. He finally started to laugh too. He can SEE it in him, yet he's helpless to stand against always spending the minimum.”
I wrote her back and said, “How funny. I can laugh, because I’m his aunt and I see myself in him and it’s easier to laugh at yourself when you’re a darling eleven-year-old scout. However, I can’t believe you wondered where it came from—it’s through you, silly. Don’t you remember Grandpa being a millionaire, yet living in his two bedroom bungalow with the big ball of saved Wall Street Journal rubber bands in the kitchen drawer? I love my tightwad gene.”
Tightwad Legacy. Grandpa probably didn’t even realize he passed it on, but pass it he did; and pass legacies we do. It’s quite an interesting journey to look inside and see what it is we’re unintentionally passing on.
But moral traditions and legacies that we intentionally pass on, ensure unity and longevity to relationships. Our fondness for the familiar encourages us to keep up those traditions which link generations. Good, honorable traditions are like fine habits that must be cultivated and nurtured. Look through the following articles and see if there is something for you to pass on....and on....and on.