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A follow-up to the official magazine of Classy Living Society - the Classy Chronicles - Chronicles Too! is an online magazine which features amazing nonprofit organizations, awesome businesses and business owners, people doing great things in the community and more.
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But It’s Always Been Done This Way…

But It’s Always Been Done This Way…

This week, we celebrated the arrival of the New Year and nothing else conjures up tradition like holidays.  For example, there’s an old Southern tradition that collard greens and black-eyed peas should be eaten on the first day of the year to guarantee luck and prosperity for the coming year.  The greens symbolize dollar bills and the peas represent coins; plus, add a little cornbread and there’s your gold!  For those of you who eat greens and peas each year on New Year’s Day (and for those of you who don’t) have you ever actually noticed whether eating these foods have had an impact on your financial status?
Now, by no means am I saying that you shouldn’t believe in the luck that greens and peas can bring you.  But I urge you to take a moment to get a good look at old traditions and rituals we partake in, yet don’t know where they came from or when and why they began  – we just do them because “it’s always been done this way.”  But… do they generate results?
The story goes a little something like this:  a mother was teaching her teen daughter to prepare a holiday dinner – a true rite of passage passed down from mother to daughter.  As Mom is getting the ham ready for the pan, she carefully cuts off both ends of the ham with a big knife – about 3 inches is whacked off each end.  “This is what you have to do before you cook the ham,” says Mom.  With a quizzical look, the daughter asked, “Why? You’re wasting part of the ham!”  The mother says, “I don’t know, that’s what my mother did. It’s always been done this way!”  Frustrated now, the daughter replied, “But Mom, there’s got to be a better explanation for it than that.  Does it cook better? Ughhh, I don’t understand!”
Sensing this wouldn’t be the end of her daughter’s questions about the lopped off ham, Mom called her mother.  “Mother, why did you cut both ends off the ham before cooking it?”  Her mother replied, “Because that’s the way your Grandma did it.  It’s always been done this way!”
Now, Mom was just as perplexed as her young daughter, so she decided to call her grandmother.  “Grandma, Mother said she cut off both ends of the ham before cooking it because that’s what you did.  Why did you do it? Did it make it taste better?  So it wouldn’t dry out? Why?”
Grandma replied, “No. The only pan I owned was too small for the ham, so that was the only way I could get it to fit.”
This brings me to the subject of resolutions.  I think it’s a good practice to have a few resolutions each New Year; there’s never anything wrong with a list of goals to set us out on the right foot for the year.  In years past, I’ve made long lists of resolutions, only to reach the end of each of those years without accomplishing one of them.  For a time, I decided not to make any because not achieving success was so heartbreaking and I’d get so down on myself.  This year, I’m examining things a little differently – the reason I wasn’t successful 75% of the time with resolutions was I was trying to accomplish things the way OTHER people thought I should do it.  No matter whether it was right for me or not!
In honoring ourselves, it is imperative, that WE figure out the “right way” to care for ourselves to achieve success.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t look for help from the experts, but most of us have gone at some of the same things over and over – so we definitely know what doesn’t work, right?
Truth be told, the turn of the New Year holiday cannot magically transport us into brand new beings.  WE have to be active participants in our own transition.  Maybe we should start a savings account instead of relying on eating greens and peas.  Maybe we should try a new way to conquer the challenge of those same old resolutions we keep making every year.  Maybe we should ask questions instead of doing things the same way all the time because someone told us it would be best.  If we are not successful in what we are doing, it is true insanity to keep trying to go at it the same way and expect different results.
There’s a whole world of methods out there to accomplish what you’re trying to do.  Stop cutting off the ends of the ham because someone told you to do it, and figure out a new way – the perfect way for you – to get results.
I wish us success!  Happy New Year!  Now pass the collard greens!
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Carolyn Zakers
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Carolyn Zakers

Love this! I stopped cooking collards and black eye peas years ago because I couldn’t understand the correlation between money, collard greens and black eye peas. I probably should have asked my grandmother why?

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