by Joy Martin, Co-founder Set Me Free Ministries
As I was busy cleaning in preparation for our Super Bowl guests to arrive, Zach came downstairs to tell me thatFiddler on the Roof was on TV. I quickly turned it on so I could enjoy a little entertainment while I continued cleaning. I love Fiddler! In fact, my family has a long-standing love of Fiddler on the Roof for many reasons.
I think the love affair started because it was my Grandpa Prager’s favorite movie. I have fond memories plinking out “Miracle of Miracles” on the piano, while Grandpa stood behind me singing along. When my parents got married in 1975, Mom walked down the aisle to “Sunrise, Sunset.” When Zach and I got married twenty-five years later, my brother and sister sang the same song as I walked down the aisle. My brother even performed in his high school’s production of Fiddler during his senior year. And the three of us grew up hearing Dad declare “Tradition!” while doing his best Tevya impression whenever the discussion of family traditions came up.
If you’re not familiar with the story of Fiddler on the Roof, Tevya (the main character) is big on tradition. In fact, you might say that tradition is what holds Tevya together in many ways. The song “Tradition” is the show’s opening number and is reprised throughout the storyline as Tevya finds himself reflecting on his culture’s traditions and questioning the way things have always been done.
As I found myself once again caught up in the story ofFiddler on the Roof, I began to reflect on the role tradition plays in my life and the lives of my family. Much like Tevya, I have always considered myself to be a lover of tradition. I am comforted by the predictability that it brings. And, frankly, also much like Tevya, for much of my life I despised it when people tried to mess with tradition. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it—right? Of course, as I’ve gotten older and started a family of my own, I’ve come to realize that traditions are not meant to be set in stone. No, they are meant to be a fluid, ever-changing reminder of what’s important to us.
I believe that you can learn a lot about a person from looking at her traditions. When I look back at the traditions we celebrated in the Brown household growing up, I see a family who, although far from perfect, loved each other and valued their time together. I see parents who loved their children immensely and always made them a priority. But most importantly, I see a family who was grounded in Christ.
My prayer is that I can pass on the same legacy of love and faith to my children. Now that would be a worthwhile tradition!
After all, as the Good Book says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)