The last time we sat in our van as a family and chanted our family cheer that we traditionally said for years before setting our on an outing, I felt sad knowing that family trips like this wouldn’t be taking place any more since we were selling our van (and everything else!), and moving to Israel where we planned to do without a family vehicle. The older kids probably didn’t mind the passing of this family ritual since they felt self-conscious when friends came on trips were us and at those times they definitely endured our cheer more than enjoyed it. But it became a part of our family history and was a nice part of our routine even when the older ones felt they’d outgrown it.
After almost two years, our family resurrected our family cheer last week. I was taking a walk with five of the boys, and I began to spontaneously chant our cheer, slightly adapting it for our new circumstances. (I basically lifted this from something in one of Steven Covey’s books.) Here it is:
We’re the Werner family,
Walking (used to be’ driving’) down the street
When we stick together
We can’t be beat!
(Said together enthusiastically three times, the first time followed by ‘Again!’, the second time followed by ‘One more time!”, finishing up with a loud ‘yay!’)
Tonight I was walking home with the three youngest boys, and ds4 and ds5 began to sing our cheer together. After they finished, ds5 asked me, “Why do we say we can’t be a beet? Because we’re not purple?” It’s so cute when you hear things through their ears! I explained what the saying ‘we can’t be beat’ means.
About a half hour later, I heard ds5 chanting to himself the cheer again, finishing with “We can’t be cornflakes!”
Then he and ds7 started coming up with a few other variations – one that I remember is instead of ‘walking down the street’, they turned it into ‘walking down a treat’, which turned into ‘walking down the chocolate’ – there seems to be a food focus, doesn’t there?! They were having fun making up their own modifications!
It’s a really nice feeling to have brought our family cheer back into existence to the enthusiastic participation of our younger set! Each little thing like this is a step towards reclaiming the cohesive quality of family life that we’ve missed with the kids in school.