Breaking Tradition

I speak (well, write) a lot on tradition. It’s important to me in so many ways. Tradition links generations together. It adds importance to holidays and other special occasions. It gives us something to remember loved ones by. It allows us to feel a sense of connection with others. Tradition eventually becomes almost like a habit – engrained in us. That’s what makes traditions hard to break.

I’m here today, though, to tell you – there are some traditions worth breaking.

Were your parents absent from you life? Did they do the bare minimum, maybe less?

Do you find youself always attracted to the same type…the type that ignores you or hits you?

Do you think you’re following in your parents’ footsteps by milking the system and doing drugs?

Stop. All of it. Break the cycle. I promise you, you can. The traditions you implement at first – cutting down a Christmas tree, Sunday dinners with friends, ice cream on the first day of school – won’t absolutely have that special feeling that traditions you’ve grown up with have. The safety net will be missing. That’s the cold, ugly truth. But for your children and family, THIS is what they’ll remember.

You are a good person. You are worthy of more than a mediocre life.

Traditions have to start somewhere. It is WONDERFUL that they start with you. I think traditions have a tendency to change, depending on what part each person found important. Regardless, like every generation, we tend to romanticize the past. I guarantee the ugliness has been wiped clean each time. The affairs and abuses tend to be overlooked. We can stop normalizing hurtful behavior.

Perfection isn’t expected, so don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Give yourself grace. Aim for better. No matter where you came from, I think each person wants more for the next generation. I wouldn’t change a thing from my childhood. I somehow still want better for my own children. We all do.

What tradition will you start today?

Respect at Funerals

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I had nearly had this post written last night when my phone crashed. I was too emotionally spent to re-write it at that time, so it’s a day later than I had hoped for.

Yesterday was a hard day for me. I had the privilege of remembering a man’s life who was kind, beyond generous, caring, easy going, enjoyed copious amounts of coffee, hated blood, loved and respected the Lord, loved his family, friends and students who all equally loved him as much. We are all better off for having known Coach Perry Evans.

In truth, he was my first crush. (Yes, Garrett knows 😉 ) Though I had learned to tie my shoe at around 2 1/2, in Kindergarten I would purposefully untie them during gym so Coach Evans would tie them back. The fact he did it over and over and over only begins to show his willingness to do anything for others. He was a man of great character. Never were there kids who remained hungry, shoeless or unloved on his watch. The stories of him purchasing, with his own money, shoes for kids to play sports, food for kids to eat or giving them “jobs” to build their self-worth are nearly infinite.

The difference he made in the lives of others was apparent yesterday during his funeral service, as the attendees overflowed into the stands of the Sulphur Bluff gymnasium. So, in Coach Evans’s memory, I dedicate this post on funeral etiquette to his family.

  • As an attendee at a funeral, when the family enters, you should stand as you are able. Please remaining standing until the last family member is seated.
  • Silence (don’t just set to vibrate) all electronic devices. This goes for all one-time events (weddings, funerals, etc.).
  • At the end when saying your final good-bye to the deceased, it is ok to hug or acknowledge the family. However, this is not a requirement. People mourn in different ways, and that ok.
  • After the funeral, if you are going to the burial, make sure to turn on your lights so approaching cars know to pull over.
  • On that note, , pull over until the last car has passed.
  • The family will continue mourning past the first few initial days. I would suggest waiting until a couple of days have passed before bringing food unless you are a very close friend or extended family member. On a personal note, my mother-in-law really appreciated a gift of toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, plastic cups, etc. when my father-in-law passed away. As odd as this may seem, she didn’t want to have to deal with the issues of everyday life. This allowed her to stay home instead of running out for toilet paper.
  • If you would like to make a memorial donation, reach out to someone who is close to the family to ask for suggestions. However, if you know of something you feel would be appropriate, that is ok, too.
  • As always, a note of remembrance written to the family is appropriate.

Thank you for reading, as somber as this post is. If you have any memories of Coach Evans you would like to share, please feel free to do so.