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New Traditions

June 21, 2010
Teaching a course on World Cultures to 7th grade students means a thorough introduction of well, culture. Middle School students are excellent at pointing out difference, but when they try to see the sameness within, it can take an extra step. One method of telling them about culture, is having them look at their own traditions. They run to the board and write every sort of ritual or tradition in their day, month or year. We talk about similarities amongst the class, and apply some of them to cultures abroad. A thread that becomes clear to the class every year is that tradition often revolves around food. We discuss why food, a basic necessity, can create a bonding ritual for humanity.

Naturally, when Little Serafina arrived, I wanted to create positive traditions for our family. For Mothers Day, we decided to plant herbs every year. This year, A. held our petite 6-week old, while I talked her through the merits of basil. For Father’s Day, we started an annual picnicking tradition. Armed with a Whole Foods gift card, we gathered a variety of foods, including ridiculously expensive (but absolutely fantastic) goat cheese from a local dairy, Firefly farms. We grabbed our picnic basket, and we trucked over to the Virginia Theological Seminary, which has great shady lawn space. Despite the 95 degree heat, and my clutsiness spilling wine all over the blanket, we had a fantastic first run at this tradition. As with anything about having a baby, we are taking the tradition slowly, and hope to try larger plants and bigger parks in the future. So hopefully when I teach Little Serafina in seventh grade, she will have a few food traditions to share.

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