Consider this. Birthdays were a big deal growing up in my house. If your birthday landed on a school day you were treated to a highly coveted Coke, instead of a can Mott's Apple Juice; your first treat of the day was always waiting in your cereal bowl; and you always, always got to pick the dinner of your choice. Mine? Corned beef and cabbage with cooked carrots and potatoes. So etched is this memory in my mind, that Richard (thoughtful man that he is) still makes this dinner for me every October.
Here's the truth. I wasn't eating corn beef and cabbage at two or three years of age and probably not even three or four. I probably ate my first corn beef and cabbage dinner was when I was nine and I left for college when I was 18 years old. That means this birthday memory, etched so deeply in my mind, actually happened eight or nine times... at most!
When you get down to it, it's true. Some of our most fond childhood memories are family traditions that, when truly recalled, can be reduced to an event that happened six or seven times.
Today's post is in celebration of this factoid.
Last year around this time I introduced readers to my neighbor Nan A. Not only did I share her simple First Day of School family ritual, but I shamelessly stole it, replicated it, and gave an extra one away on my blog.
Her idea was a table cloth. When Nan's kids come down to breakfast on the first day of school they are met with a well appointed kitchen table - the star of which is a first-day-of-school tablecloth. That's it. No bells, no whistles, no major expense and limited preparation on Nan's part. But to those three kids who are already excited about the prospect of a new year, the sight of that familiar table cloth provides the security of a warm blanket.
It's not really about the table cloth - which Nan admits is just a large swatch of material from Joann Fabrics. It's about Nan's one gesture, repeated annually and ultimately condensed into one poignant childhood memory.
Small things make a big difference.
Today let's whack First Day of School Traditions (yours as kids, ones you've recently started, or - since so many of you work in higher education - ones you can share with college students). But, as is always the case, let's apply a creative principle from Axelrod's book on Edison (today's principle should seem especially timely to any reader participating in our StrengthQuest Saturdays).
Play to your strengths. If you are a manager, manage others in innovation. If you are a theoretician, think innovatively. But if you are hands-on, innovate with your hands. See the work and see it through. Let it take shape under your touch.
How can you use your strengths to innovate a fall tradition?
Signing off until tomorrow....