It started in the morning.
"We're going to have Glow Night, right Aunt Suz??"
Then re-affirmed later on the beach, just for good measure...
"Don't forget. Tonight we have Glow Night."
And repeated many times down the dinner line while the kids filled their plates.
"Glow Night. After dinner. Once it's dark."
The tribe had spoken.
They had armed themselves at the end-of-season Dollar Store sale and they knew just what to do...
It's become a ritual that's as much a part of the end of Summer to these kids as buying back-to-school supplies.
And there's never a question whether everyone will participate.
From the Littlest who leads with pink batons to the Biggest who knows he is never too old to glow...
They remind me of a book I once read, Tribes by Seth Godin.
He said that a group only needs two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.
These kids like to gather at the beach and they communicate through ritual.
And together they marched the half a mile or so to the beach.
People noticed them along the way, smiled, and had to know more...
Somehow they knew that this pack of kids was up to something good...this tribe that ranges in age from 6 to 17.
They had a purpose. They knew the drill.
Because they had done it before.
There was a wonderful book published last year called The New Book of Family Traditions It's written by a lovely woman named Meg Cox whom I met through Allie Aller.
She has this to say about "ritual"...
Ritual in general, all the little and big things we do together as a family, works as a safety net, a security blanket, and an ongoing promise of protection.
How beautifully said.
I had been searching for the right way to describe the importance of this yearly nocturnal observance and Meg nailed it.
A safety net. An ongoing promise of protection.
It's what we all hope to create when we start a family.
And at some point, if we're lucky, the members of the family grow up and become torchbearers for the tribe.
Lighting a path to safety for all those who come after...
They're only glow sticks from the dollar store.
But they become so much more in the dark as instruments of a ritual...
A ritual that includes love...
And a sense of place...
|Ocean City, MD|
And a sense of belonging.
Where each individual is important to the group...
Rituals have a magic that keeps discord at bay. It's amazing.
Sure, we've taught them to love each other and to gather together.
But they've decided to wrap themselves in a blanket and become a tribe.
And they glow.