In mid-March, our 18 year old son Joshua met me at Buffalo Wild Wings to take in Day I of the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament. It was the culmination of a tradition we’d had in place since he was in Elementary school. Early pick-up from school and off to the games. Yes, we often got funny (or disapproving) looks from the Attendance Secretary in charge, but we smiled and made our way off to enjoy the annual tradition. Undoubtedly there were many who, upon hearing about this tradition who might wonder the “message” this young man was receiving about the importance of education if Dad is pulling him out of class to watch basketball and eat chicken wings. Well, we just received notification that he’ll graduate as the #1 student in his class of 450+ graduates, on his way to pursue an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and is planning on Med School down the road. So I guess he turned out ok on the education front afterall 🙂
The goal of this tradition had (almost) nothing to do with basketball or chicken wings. The goal was to provide Joshua with a stake in the ground, a stable foundation on which he could build. No matter what was going on at school, in sports, with girls or the world as a whole, he knew that on the 2nd Thursday of March, he’d be sitting with his Dad, watching basketball and eating wings.
Traditions play an important role in our wellness. We live in a crazy world, and those traditions provide at least a little sense of stability in the midst of the craziness. For the Cooper family, those traditions range from cutting down a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, driving 15 hrs each way to Little Rock, AR every Christmas and summer to see family (52 round trips over the past 26 years now), lining up for the Bolder Boulder 10K each Memorial Day, among others.
If you’ve been through our wellness coaching certification, then you know the value of this approach. When talking wellness with your coaching clients, do you bring up traditions? So many of the topics thought of as classic wellness “issues” (stress, exercise consistency, weight management, etc) can actually garner significant benefit from the integration (and awareness) of those traditions. It may be worth a look back to move forward…