Traditions – Anticipation, Participation and Reflection

IMG_4216Passing down traditions is one of those things that just seem to happen – it’s part of being part of a community, be it a family, a village or a Lions Club. Growing up most of my family traditions were centred around Christmas, now as part of Eric’s family, the passing down of treasured family recipes is part of the ritual of becoming a family member. Traditions are important, they help us feel connected and part of something bigger. They give us security and comfort and a sense of belonging, so it’s no surprise that Lions Clubs also have their traditions.

Traditions don’t have to be big, and they don’t have to revolve around holidays or ceremonies. Castle Bromwich Lions toast Lions Clubs International and Castle Bromwich & District Lions Club at the start of each meeting and they traditionally hold their charter celebrations at Grounds Farm. Similarly Lions Clubs at District and Multiple District levels have their own traditions usually centred around conventions and change overs. Over time these traditional activities will evolve and adapt to suit changing times and members, but at the heart the fundamentals of the traditions remain.

IMG_4206This weekend Eric and I attended our first Multiple District Convention. The weekend had been eagerly anticipated by members of my club who had been telling newer members about the event and how much they enjoyed participating in it. Traditionally, this starts on the Friday with a themed host night. This year the theme was Flower Power and Lions from around MD105 arrived suitably dressed in flower power costumes. The 60s style costumes were definitely a talking point, long flowing wigs and rose tinted glasses disguised otherwise familiar faces.

As usual food played a pivotal role in the evening and the hot buffet and puddings were well received – all aptly named in flower power style, but it was the parade of the Districts which really marked it as a Lions’ event.IMG_4460 District M paraded around the dance floor ably led by the District Governor and it was obvious that the District was well represented from the loud cheers that erupted. If ever I doubted the power of tradition, this parade would have changed my mind. I’m not usually somebody who feels part of the moment, particularly in large groups of people, but this parade definitely moved me.

The evening finished, as do many Lions events, with music and dance before carriages returned Lions to their hotels for rest and recuperation before the convention on Saturday morning.

For me, tradition involves three things – anticipation, participation and reflection. Without doubt MD Convention was eagerly anticipated and many in the Lions’ family participated. Reflecting on what happened I can see that the weekend convention gave a snapshot of what Lions are about – fellowship, service and being part of something bigger than ourselves. These traditional activities are important because they are what bind us together as a family. What makes them special is that everyone anticipates them, participates in them and eventually reflects and reminicises about them.

Club traditions can sometimes seem like expressions of manners – you do certain things at certain times because you feel that it’s expected of you. Yet the deeper meaning, the one that will always stay with you even if you eventually leave Lions Clubs, is much more complicated, you learn who you are by the rituals of your club, you build friendships and you share experiences.

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Categories: Castle Bromwich Lions, District 105M, Membership, Social

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