USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘grace’
Customs
Foodways
Proverbs

Lazy Grace

KM is a third-generation Japanese-American from Los Angeles, CA. She now lives in Pasadena, CA with her husband and 18-year-old son.

KM was raised in a Christian household, where her family said “grace” before dinner every night:

“I have four siblings and we always ate dinner together with our parents. We’d sit around this big round table and every night, we would take turns saying grace before eating…we were supposed to come up with something original, like something that had to do with the day or different events going on in our lives, but usually my siblings just defaulted to ‘God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food.” I always tried to have an interesting one, but I think everyone else just wanted to eat.”

I asked KH if she still says grace in her family, or if she and her siblings carried their religious traditions on in their new nuclear families:

“Ultimately I was unsuccessful in getting my kids to go to church. My husband grew up in a Catholic family and now wants nothing to do with the church, and I couldn’t get my kids to show much interest either. I don’t think anyone else in my family still goes to church…except my parents. They’ve been going to the same church since they met.”

My analysis:

Religion is one of those things that can either define a family, or be irreconcilable when two families come together. In KH’s case, religion’s importance started to waver amongst her and her siblings, despite the traditions of their parents. The “grace” prayer in her family shows one generation trying to pass on their beliefs through a ritual, and the next generation participating half-heartedly, or just to please authority. Eventually as they started their own families, her siblings decided the tradition wasn’t particularly important to them, and refrained from instilling it in their own family. More broadly it seems to symbolize the diminishing importance of their religion, and maybe a certain progressive movement amongst families to not force it on their children.

Rituals, festivals, holidays

Grace

Shirley Turner Jean grew up in Rialto, California.  She graduated from Dwight D Eisenhower high school I 2004.  From there, she pursued a bachelor’s degree in physical education at Cal State San Bernardino.  Shortly thereafter, Shirley obtained a Masters Degree in Kinesiology from Azusa Pacific University.  She has sense obtained a number of credentials from Azusa Pacific University.  She currently lives in San Bernardino, California and teaches at Synergy Middle School in Los Angeles, California.  She is a PE teacher.

I say grace before I eat anything.  Literally, every single time no matter where I am.  When I was younger I was embarrassed about doing it in public, but now that I am an adult I don’t really care what others think about it.  I usually say about the same thing, but it differs if it is a big occasion or depending on who prepared the food.  If I am at home and I prepared the meal I usually will say something like, “Dear Heavenly Father, bless this food and use it to strengthen us and we pray for those less fortunate that are not able to partake.  In Jesus name, Amen.”  But, if, say, I’m at a restaurant I will say something like, “Lord, bless the hands that prepared this meal for us.  I ask that you use it to nourish our bodies and strengthen us.  We ask that you bless those that are less fortunate and cannot partake in this meal.  In Jesus name, Amen.”  So, see, it all depends on the situation.  It isn’t really a script or anything, but I think that the reason that it is usually so similar is because of how often I say it.  Imagine, how many times do you eat a day?  But, if it is a big dinner, like Thanksgiving it is a lot longer and a lot more detailed.  A lot more hands need to be blessed and a lot more things that we thank God for.  So, it really all depends on the situation, but it is always done before I eat anything.

[geolocation]