Ella and Sydney Dieterlen sewing in the sun at the Fair at New Boston Saturday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

COMMENTARY: Allow new generation to take on role of preserving our legacy

With the passing of my parents last year, legacy has been on my mind quite a bit. The passing of the torch was especially in my thoughts this last weekend at the Fair at New Boston.

We thoroughly enjoyed watching two of our daughters and some of their cousins doing their part as very busy Fair participants and two of the grandchildren now teens participating with their friends with their own duties and responsibilities. The third is ready to be a monger and sell apples next year.

PHOTOS: 2018 Fair at New Boston

We love how the teens took pride in their presentation and debated what was historically accurate and what is pushing it too much. We were relieved to see them survive a weekend without cell phones, at least from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is also great seeing them get their community service hours while volunteering beside us.

All six of our grandchildren were dressed in historical garb. Somehow we convinced the two year old she could not visit the horses unless she wore her day cap, so even she was accurate.

The simple linen dress that the youngest wore had been worn by the oldest grandchild 12 years ago. It is fun watching the clothing items progress their way up the age, and height spectrum of a family. We also share costuming with other families, and see familiar dresses and hats all day long. This sharing helps us all in the living history community keep our costs as low as we can.

THEN AND NOW: Springfield Then & Now: War Chest parade

We observed the children of our friends, whom we remember being carried and wearing white baby gowns, now riding horses, and taking part in the battle recreation. I’ve watched them explain detailed aspects of the fair to visitors, and it does my heart good as I take my quieter not so active place under one of the shade trees.

My generation cannot do it all anymore. It is good to see the tradition renewing and going on.

At the food booths the youngest who used to play in the shade behind the booths now run the booths and they are faithful to the old recipes, although some new historically accurate offerings have been a great addition to our traditional fare.

Now this passing of the torch is not just happening at New Boston.

Around our community I see soccer players becoming coaches or referees to keep the soccer tradition going. I see festivals being managed and run by those little kids who used to get in the way as the parents set up.

Little brothers and sisters are now in the high school bands, and former band members come back to be band directors or contributing members of the boosters. Former girl scouts grow into Girl Scout leaders or den mothers if they have sons.

Little kids in church grow up to teach Sunday School or run the bake sale. Maybe one will become a minister.

We need to welcome and encourage the participation of the youngest among us. There is no doubt that they have more energy than we can remember having. They watched us with the old ways of doing things and they have ideas as to how to modernize without losing the whole idea of the activity.

This year at New Boston a Clark State student and a high school student designed a scavenger hunt on Snap Chat. They came up with the idea, managed this new activity, and had great success without hampering the accuracy of the event one bit. Huzzah!

We also had some of our newer folks come up with less labor intensive ways to set up and tear down. God bless them.

In all that we do, at our schools, churches, organizations, festivals, families, and neighborhoods we need to encourage our young folks to grow into participation. Listen to their suggestions.

Don’t be afraid to let the next generation adapt and update if you want them to take over some day.

They will keep our festivals and events going if we give them room to breathe and let them bloom

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