Let’s hear it for childlike traditions!
Our children still remember those evenings.
Slipping quietly between bushes and shrubs in a front garden…
Stealthily creeping up to a front door…
Then ringing a bell, or hammering a doorknocker…
And running like fury, to hide behind a car, giggling and panting in the pitch-black Winter night.
Sometimes they’d trip and go flying in the ice and snow.
Sometimes they’d slide down a muddy slope, and smack into the side of our car.
But the tears would soon turn to laughter as they watched people come out of their houses…
Look around the quiet street, to see who that could have been…
And then smile in amazement as they saw the parcels and boxes of food and other goodies on their doorstep.
Our family called the tradition “Christmas Elves”.
The children knew that Dad would write a fresh Christmas Elf poem each year.
Whilst Mum would help them to wrap the parcels beautifully.
And off we would drive…
Some warm us, as we revisit them time after time.
They bring certainty, security, comfort, a sense of belonging, and help us build precious memories.
Others, however, are not so helpful.
They hold us bound to limiting myths and legends that have long since passed their sell-by date.
They even trap us in half-truths and falsehood.
In business – life is crammed full of them.
The older the business, the more crammed it becomes.
They become infused into a company’s thinking.
“This is the way we do things here.”
We lose the wide-eyed wonder of a child’s constant questioning.
And we swap discovery for the comfort of them.
Seemingly harmless traditional mantras such as “It takes 21 days to form a habit”
Which, research shows, is complete nonsense.
Tough-driver traditions like “Lunch break is for wimps. I eat sandwiches at my desk”.
Which is a perfect way to reduce creativity, increase toxic exhaustion, lower productivity, dilute discernment, multiply errors.
Traditions such as “Because I’m the Leader, I make the strategic decisions here. My team put them into action.”
Which is a brilliant way to stifle the thinking power of the people who work at the cutting edge with your clients.
I’m sure you can think of a host more.
Now, I realise that Jesus Christ was born in April, in Bethlehem.
Even though we love celebrating his birth in December.
But – whatever your faith or philosophy – it can be a glorious, compassion-inducing tradition.
Particularly when you ‘get it’.
If we would stop the breathless rushing around of December.
If we will but pause, and consider the traditional thinking and routine behaviour we’ve slumbered into.
Maybe then we can grasp the opportunity to change our future.
Maybe then we can bring greater Joy To Our Own World.
And the world around us.