10 Things The Simpsons Taught Me #6 – Tradition

Simpsons Taught Me
Clockwise from top left: Homer, Marge, Maggie, Santa’s Little Helper, Bart, Snowball II and Lisa on THE SIMPSONS on FOX. © and ª2000 TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED/©2000FOX BROADCASTING CR:FOX

Growing up, we had a hall closet that greeted you as soon as you entered the door. It was used for coats, board games, and holiday decorations. I remember feeling excitement, for every season that we would take out the decorations for each of the different seasons. It was like this closet held a lot of our traditions in one place.

The Simpsons have always been good at this. Opening nearly every show with the Simpsons sitting on the couch together. Every Halloween there is a Treehouse of Horror episode for Halloween. There are a few Thanksgiving episodes, St. Patrick’s Day, and Christmas episodes.

(https://simpsons.fandom.com/wiki/Category:Holiday_episodes)

In fact, the very first Simpsons episode was a Christmas special, you can watch it here…

Watch the First Episode

They started The Simpsons with traditions, not just because it is a family show, but because I think they believed that this show was going to be going for awhile.

Tradition is important to kids and should be to adults as well. My Grandma Lois always made every holiday so special for us. She worked at a Pharmacy that also was a Hallmark store, so she scored some pretty amazing decorations. She loved to dress up on Halloween and even was the Hallmark Bunny for Easter a few times.

I remember her hosting a lot of different events for the whole family. One of my favorite events was when we would celebrate New Year’s Eve, we would play board games, bingo, and invited our Great-Grandmother Bessie over to celebrate. We would have sparkling cider and would toast at midnight.

I have always tried to build a sense of of tradition into my classroom as a teacher, but I will say without having kids, it is more of a struggle to want to do traditional things at home. We have traditions as a couple, but they increasingly have less and less to do with over doing it, as my Grandma used to do for us.

Tradition is important, but more important is showing everyone in your family that you love them, no matter how you do it. The love is ultimately she left us, not the traditions. I suspect that this love is what Homer and Marge wanted to show in their traditions as well.

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Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 4

I was really touched by this post. Gareth is a talented writer, check this post out on death. Gareth writes a post every day and I really enjoy it.

Livesay Writing

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I found out what death was when my parakeet died in 4th grade. I think it was 4th grade. It might have been earlier. But the bird did die. I walked out on a weekend morning to his living room cage. He was on the floor of the cage with his wings splayed out. He chirped twice and fell over. I called my mom. I ran to my room. I buried my face in my bed. She came to tell me he was dead. I cried, but not so much for the bird as for what slippery thing he’d invited into our house. When Death comes, it never goes away.

After Beak – that was his name, the parakeet – we rushed out and got a cockatiel named ‘Tealy.’ I loved Tealy. He was bright and neurotic. He sang love songs to his…

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10 Things The Simpsons Taught Me – #5

Simpsons Taught Me
Clockwise from top left: Homer, Marge, Maggie, Santa’s Little Helper, Bart, Snowball II and Lisa on THE SIMPSONS on FOX. © and ª2000 TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED/©2000FOX BROADCASTING CR:FOX

Have Pets

I fell in love Santa’s Little Helper, Snowball II and Snowball when they were introduced into the show. At first it was a little scary considering that Bart could do any manner of things to the animals. Santa’s Little Helper showed up in the very first Simpsons episode. He was the slowest greyhound at the tracks and his owner abandoned him. Bart and Homer were at the the track to earn some money for Christmas presents, but adopted him instead.

With Pets

Over the course of our marriage we have adopted four animals. They each provided us with different blessings and unique challenges. They helped us to have so much joy and we also briefly experienced sorrow with them. Our current rescue is our American Labrador, Shady.

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He is the embodiment of love and loyalty. The Simpsons taught me that life is better with pets. I am not sure how anyone lives without a pet. Since growing up, we have always had a cat or dog around the house. I love to walk him every day, besides the rainy and cold days. Shady helps me to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. He loves people much more than I do, in fact, he gets more excited about people coming to our house than about anything else.

Pets have taught me to be more hospitable to strangers and to pause at times and breathe In everything going on. Are pets a lot of work? Yes, of course so, but I think he is worth every minute of my time. Consider going to your local rescue to help out a pet in need. They might teach you a lot about yourself and make you a better human being.

10 Things the Simpson Taught Me – #4

Simpsons Taught Me
Clockwise from top left: Homer, Marge, Maggie, Santa’s Little Helper, Bart, Snowball II and Lisa on THE SIMPSONS on FOX. © and ª2000 TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED/©2000FOX BROADCASTING CR:FOX

Homer often is seen in Moe’s bar, he is not only loyal, but at parts Moe is even a part of Homer’s personal life. It reminded me of the time I was introduced to the philosopher Martin Buber. He said,

“Man wishes to be confirmed in his being by man, and wishes to have a presence in the being of the other….

Secretly and bashfully he watches for a YES which allows him to be and which can come to him only from one human person to another.” 

― Martin Buber, I and Thou

Buber’s philosophy has often made me realize how important it is to remember that when another human being is serving me at a restaurant or cash register to remember to tip them well and acknowledge them.

When I was sixteen years old, I worked in a Potbelly’s in Wichita, KS. It was a massively popular breakfast spot that would pack out its dining area regularly. I was a clumsy bus boy, trying to pay for my gas and insurance on my El Camino. I was not extremely fast at my job, but I tried to be careful. One day, a large group of bikers came to eat in our restaurant after doing a local Toys for Tots run. They were all decked out in leather, patches, and chains. I was intimidated a bit.

I sat a tub full of glasses on a table nearby them and it was not balanced well. The glasses came down breaking around their boots. The broken glass surrounded them. I felt like such an idiot, but they were gracious and allowed me to clean it all up. They even left me a tip that day. I don’t think I will ever forget that. They showed me that they knew what it was like to be human and really saw me.

I try to think of this moment often when I am around other people who do not know me, I want to be the kind of person who would tip when glass was broken all around me. I want others to know I see them and accept them in their humanity.

10 Things The Simpsons Taught Me #1

Simpsons Taught Me
Clockwise from top left: Homer, Marge, Maggie, Santa’s Little Helper, Bart, Snowball II and Lisa on THE SIMPSONS on FOX. © and ª2000 TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED/©2000FOX BROADCASTING CR:FOX

The Simpsons started on December 17th, 1989. I was in eighth grade and was too grown for cartoons at this point, but I made an exception for this glorious show. I liked the rebellious nature of Bart, but I was clearly much more the Lisa of my family. I was the rule following child who was always trying to do the right thing, mostly. I had a little Bart, but mostly Lisa prevailed.

Lisa was always exactly who she wanted to be. She did not normally care what other people thought. Lisa taught me that it is okay to be weird and different. It took me a long time to actually apply this lesson, but I am glad she helped me understand that it is okay to be different. It is acceptable to not be into what other people are into.

You would think in this day and age, that young people do not experience this, but I see it the same as when I was in school. Kids are wanting to be liked and fit in. The major difference is that nowadays they compare themselves to people on social media, Youtube, and a variety of other outlets. As a kid, I honestly would just compare myself to other people in my school, and a few times people who appeared in sitcoms or movies. I am looking at you here Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains) and Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future), probably two of my biggest guys who In thought were cool growing up.

Ir is sad to see my students comparing themselves to so many people, especially to people who are probably using filters to make themselves better. I hope they can find a Lisa to let them know it is okay to be different. I just hope for them to find other people who can let them be themselves.

10 Things The Simpsons Taught Me #3

Simpsons Taught Me
Clockwise from top left: Homer, Marge, Maggie, Santa’s Little Helper, Bart, Snowball II and Lisa on THE SIMPSONS on FOX. © and ª2000 TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED/©2000FOX BROADCASTING CR:FOX

The third thing that The Simpsons taught me was to be loyal. If you have watched The Simpsons for any length of time, you will notice that they are always loyal. Homer drinks beers at the same bar in every episode. Marge shops at the same grocery store. Bart torments many of the same people. Yes, you could say that this is because the creators do not want to create places for the characters to be, but I think it goes much deeper.

My wife and I used to frequent the same grocery store every week, while there we developed relationships with people. We would check in with them and see how they were doing, We would trade advice for different situations and get to know each other. There was something to be said for being loyal to this one store. It made it feel like a third place.

Now we go to Wal-Mart, because it closed. It is much different at Wal-Mart, stepping inside it makes me think of any Wal-Mart in America. It is generic. It does not breed loyalty as the staff overturn more than a rotisserie chicken. We go there because we gave in to low prices, to find a place to be loyal too can be expensive.

The Simpsons have stuck with their local establishments, which helps me to remember to go through the hard times with each other. We all need loyal friends, loyalty can not be bought…

10 Things The Simpsons Taught Me – #2

Simpsons Taught Me

The second thing I learned from The Simpsons is to play an instrument. Of course, Lisa strikes again. I think it was pretty clear, people who succeed in life play instruments. Maybe that was not the intended consequence, but I could definitely see that in the people that I was around, Instruments had a way of automatically putting you into a group. Just the simple act of playing an instrument gave people an entry into a select group.

I think a scene in Wayne’s World shows this best. When Wayne enters the guitar shop, you can tell it is a place with certain rules (NO STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN).
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I can say that I started off in 5th grade playing the trumpet and I was super awful. I think that being a part of a group learning something together was fun, but it was pretty hard. Since fifth grade, I have always had a draw towards playing some kind of instrument. I have had a guitar off and on since then. It is challenging and I will probably never play for many people, but it brings me a peace that I can not fully explain.

I know from a young age, my grandma would sit me on a piano bench and play songs, she always encouraged me with various musical instruments. My mom always took me to concerts and gave me a love for music. My stepmom always has performed in choirs and even encouraged me to be in my church’s choir for awhile. I love music and hope it is always part of my life, for enjoyment or wherever else it leads me.