Holidays, Rituals, Stories and Relationships©

Posted on December 9, 2013 by David Blumenkrantz

In No Ordinary Time, The Story of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, Doris Kearns-Goodwin details the relationship between Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. Her accounts portray the deep respect and affection that these two men had for each other. She even characterizes it as “love.” How did this happen?

Roots of Relationships
Rituals and Shared Stories ♥

1206131 President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill seated on the quarterdeck of HMS PRINCE OF WALES for a Sunday service during the Atlantic Conference, 10 August 1941.

Kearns-Goodwin describes a scene following the Atlantic Conference of 1941, which set forth strategic commitments on the part of Britain and the United States. She writes; “For both Roosevelt and Churchill, the emotional peak of the conference came on Sunday morning, as Roosevelt boarded the Prince of Wales for a religious service, complete with the singing of a dozen common hymns… Holding hymnbooks in their hands, the two leaders joined in song, with hundreds of British and American sailors crowded together side by side, sharing the same books. ‘The same language, the same hymns and more or less the same ideals,’ Churchill mused that evening. ‘I have an idea that something really big may be happening - something really big.’ ‘If nothing else had happened while we were here,’ Roosevelt later said, ‘the joint service that sunlit morning would have cemented us.’ For one brief moment, human togetherness gained ascendancy. Over the vast ship, so bright and gay with its glittering colors, there was a unity of faith of two people. ‘Every word seemed to stir the heart,’ Churchill attested, ‘and none who took part in it will forget the spectacle presented…. It was a great hour to live,” (p.267)

Singing and praying together in that Sunday morning ritual, the moment must have been transcendent and illustrative of the relationship between these two powerful men. So strong was their relationship, Churchill later remarked, “his hopes that the fraternal relationship between the United States and Great Britain would be perpetuated in peacetime…” and the only hope for the success of the United Nations lay in “the leadership given by the intimacy of the U.S. and Britain,” (p.457).

Stories, rituals and relationships are central elements in community-oriented rites of passage. They are three of the 20 core principles ♥ that inform and guide the emergence of rite of passage experiences in a community.

Holidays, perhaps more than anything else are a time for sharing stories. Stories revive memories and the values that make them treasured. Love, appreciation, respect, devotion, freedom, hope and faith are just some of the values inherent in the stories we’ll share at this time of the year. Stories shared within rituals build and strengthen relationships. Rites of passage, when shared in community, give us a common story. They help each individual experience the core values upon which both the individual and community can thrive and survive. It presents an opportunity for the entire community to revisit, adapt and recommit themselves to shared values that meet the demands of a changing world.

In this season of reflection, as we move into winter when the earth dreams of our future, I wish everyone many blessings for balance and connections that heal our families, our communities, Mother Earth and ourselves. Sharing stories enrich our lives.


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♥ Excerpted from Chapter 5 “It’s About Relationships” In Blumenkrantz, D.G. Raising Youth & Communities the Rite Way: Rites of Passage and the Future of All My Relations – Part 3

♥ For additional information about the 20 design principles of youth & community development through rites of passage visit Downloadable material is located on the home page.

© David Blumenkrantz, 2013. No permission is granted to copy, extract language or design principles, without appropriate reference and citation.

Posted in ROPE

Read more about Youth & Community Development through Rites of Passage in the new and highly acclaimed book by Dr. David Blumenkranz.

David Blumenkrantz, Ph.D., Ed.M., Founder & Executive Director, the Center for Youth & Community

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