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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Purple (11/05/09)

TITLE: Familiar Customs
By Lizzy Ainsworth
11/09/09


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“How much does it really hurt?” asked Maria, my younger sister by nearly five years, as we walked up dusty driveway to collect the mail. “Anna said it really hurts.”
“Well it doesn’t. You know what Anna is like with pain, though” I replied, beginning a demonstration. “Get two fingers with the sharpest nails on them and press as hard as you can on each side of your ear. That’s about it.”
“That doesn’t hurt.” She retorted.
“Exactly,” I kicked the old soccer ball for the prancing boarder collie.
“Can you choose whatever colour you want?”
“Uh. Huh”
“Oh, good, I think I will have purple if there are any there.”

Three days later, Maria walked out of the beauty salon with a pair of matching purple studs in her ears. It was a family custom that when you turned thirteen you were allowed to have your ears pierced if you so desired but not before.
I remember nagging Mum and Dad to get my ears pierced for five years before my thirteenth birthday. Mainly the answer seemed to be “Maybe when you are older,” but occasionally one would answer no and one yes and I would repeat the positive answer to the negative parent only to duly reprimanded. Eventually they had agreed that once I turned thirteen I could be allowed to have my ears pierced so long as I promised not to pierce other pieces of my anatomy.
Having had such a persistent journey towards having my ears pierced I took it upon myself to interview other girls as to why or why not they had their ears pierced and how old there were.
Some families did not seem to care about ear piercing and whenever the daughter asked, her wish was gratified, while other families were particularly strict about an age limit or even forbade their children to pierce their ears.
Different families seemed to have their own familiar customs and while one family would be strict about not allowing piercings they were not worried about their daughter’s plunging necklines and skin-tight apparel.
Sometimes family customs become so familiar that we forget to question whether they are wrong or right, profitable or nonprofitable or even applicable anymore. As a young adult I watch families like a hawk to see their customs, boundaries and cultures. I consider everything I see and store it in my heart and my journal where it is measured up against God’s Word. Some customs are discarded, some are treasured and others are just forgotten, to be dusted off another day.
Familiar customs are not necessarily wrong or right but just a routine that can become so familiar it is never evaluated again. So what familiar customs would I see if I were to watch your family? If you could watch yourself from another angle, would you see anything to change or would you be satisfied that all was in its right and proper place?


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Member Comments
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Laury Hubrich 11/15/09
You are right, family customs are different for everyone. Thank you for sharing.
Jeanne E Webster 11/17/09
Interesting questions. Our family customs for girls was no nylons, lipstick, shaving legs, or earrings until we were sixteen. (to say nothing about today's body piercings and tattoos!) Proper clothing for girls was mid-calf skirts/dresses, cotton underwear, buttoned up blouses with at least short sleeves, and shoes with flat soles or at most a wedge. Shorts were bermuda style or pedal pushers. The intent here was to dress modestly. I wonder where that went?!

A few writing tips: double check spelling and punctuation. Enjoyed your thoughts!