When one thinks of tradition at this time of year, Thanksgiving, Christmas etc. spring to mind. But what of those ongoing traditions, the ones that we practice every day and pass on to others?
In those times the lights were out, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I realized that as a parent, I’ve passed on the tradition of creativity. During the day, the little ones would gather around the coffee table with their crayons, colored pencils and more sheets of white paper than I care to count. They would draw, argue, discuss, draw some more and produce a book, which then was ‘published’ through the use of numerous staples.
How did they learn/want to do this? Children imitate what they see. I remember when I was writing some story or another and my oldest son came into my office and saw my feverish scribbling on a lined note pad. He says, “I see you like writing stories. I do too.” And it’s true. They love writing stories.
The two boys have “books” where they have drawn characters (usually knights or ninja) engaged in fierce battle with a few lines of prose added at the top or the bottom to explain the picture. My daughter is more practical, however, as she writes “how-to” books as in “How to get rid of a Monster under your bed” and “how to make birthday cupcakes”.
As authors, we are part of a tradition that has been passed down from when people first drew pictures on cave walls. In the present we draw our pictures in letters and electronic ink.
The next time you sit down in front of your computer, your iPad, your pencil-n-paper, think about the larger tradition you are part of as a writer, a storyteller. Honor that tradition by continuing to tell and pass on your stories. Remember, someone is watching you and may be inspired to become part of the writing tradition themselves.