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Happy Spring! With spring comes a sense of renewal as the buds start coming out on the trees and early flowers begin to bloom. As a result of our fairly mild winter, this may already be happening for some of you. My main focus this issue is with regard to Grange Month in April. You may have already started to plan activities your Grange will be hosting or be involved in during April, but if not, March provides the opportunity to get those plans made. The traditional ideas used in the past were open houses or meetings for the community, press releases to local newspapers, displays of Grange work at libraries, but I challenge your Grange to be creative to find new ways to promote your Grange. This is not a task only for Lecturers, but for the entire membership.
As you can see in the new visual above, the National Grange emphasis for the next two years will be Grange Strong: Rooted, Resilient, United. The National Grange Communication Director, Phil Vonada, provided information regarding these words. These may be used as a theme not only for a Grange Month event, but also throughout the year for additional activities. I list a few ideas, and you may come up with more/better ones for your particular Grange setting. 
  • Grange Strong: Highlight strengths of your Grange and your Grange members – your community event, 
  • Newspaper, …
  • Rooted: The word coordinates with Grange roots. In what ways has your Grange put down roots for the 
  • benefit of your community? How has it made a difference? 
  • Resilient: Given that Michigan State Grange is over 150 years old, provide information about how your
  • Grange in its longevity has worked to make your community better and stronger – perhaps through a variety of community service activities. 
  • United: This can have a very broad connotation – united with other Granges in your area; united within 
  • your Grange involving mixtures of ages, ideas; united with other community organizations, united with National Grange initiatives. 

During Grange Month, on April 10, I have the opportunity to provide a virtual program in the Historical Society of Michigan “History Hounds Lecture Series”. The program is at 7 pm. Individuals may register at https://www.hsmichigan.org/programs/history-hounds. There is a $7 fee for non-members. This event will be a one-hour event, with questions/answers at the end. This is the organization that the Michigan State Grange received a plaque commemorating 150 years of existence.

A few special dates to remember: March 11 – Daylight Savings time begins (2 am), St. Patrick’s Day – March 17, March 19 - first day of Spring; Holy Week (Christian) begins March 24; Ramadan begins March 10 at sundown. On the less well-known side is March 1 – National Share a Smile Day and World Compliment Day; March 19 – Let’s Laugh Day; April 11 – National Pet Day; April 15 – Tax Day; Passover (Jewish) begins April 22. 

​​Mother’s Day/Father’s Day and Graduation Day in 2024
May and June have plenty of holidays. For this newsletter, I have chosen to write about Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Graduation Day. Remember this column is for everyone, not just Lecturers of Granges.

​In the past several years, Mother’s Day has taken on a bit different emphasis than in the past. Our culture 
now recognizes what has existed for some time that “mother” comes in a lot of forms – biological mother, step -mother, adoptive mother, dad acting as a single parent, co-parents, and more. This is a holiday that may be difficult for those women who have not been able to become a mother because of medical issues, and also for those that may have chosen that “mothering” is not desired in their life. It may also be difficult for those who are not and have not been married. Keeping all of this in mind, Granges might wish to have a program to consider these different models, and how the Grange community may support each or some of these different models. Some Granges in Michigan have community service projects that are in this vein.

​In the May, 2022 edition of “Oprah Daily”, written by Rachel Mosely, a number of possible greetings to 
send on this day are below. They fit the variety of models mentioned above. Granges might consider having a greeting card project during Grange or a special meeting to make cards that could include some of these or their very own special greeting. They could be given to their personal “mothers”, or sent to people that might really appreciate the thought and attention.
Here are a few of those messages:
  • Happy Mother’s Day to my personal superhero!
  • You’ve been my teacher, my counselor, my guardian, and my confidante. My gratitude to you can’t be expressed in a single day, but I’m still planning to shower you with love this Mother’s Day!
  • There aren’t enough hugs and kisses in the world to show you how much you mean to me.
  • I never knew you’d become a part of my family, but now I can’t imagine it without you! Thinking of you this
  • Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day! I’m so happy that you’re a part of our beautiful blended family!
  • Happy Mother’s Day, Grandma! Another day that has me feeling beyond lucky to be a part of your family tree. We might be related through marriage, but we’re bonded by love. Happy Mother’s Day!
  • Today is the day to honor the women who made me who I am—and unequivocally, that includes you! Thank you for showing me unconditional love over the years.
And, of course Father’s Day occurs during this same time frame. Many of the same tenets above apply. The greetings above are modifiable to fit this day as well.
For many, graduation day is one that is remembered for a lifetime. It is a celebration of achievement, which everyone needs to have many times throughout their lives. This happy day is often celebrated with parties honoring the graduate, and who doesn’t love the food we enjoy at these parties!

​Several tips to keep in mind for family and friends of the graduate:
  • Let graduation be about the graduate. When greeting them at their party, greet them about their achievement, instead of how it was and what happened at your graduation and/or party.
  • Don’t confuse an announcement to be an invitation to the ceremony and/or party. Some ceremonies have limited space where tickets are required to attend. An included RSVP included is the key that you have received an invitation, not an announcement.
  • Gifts and cards - According to etiquette “guidelines”, a gift is not necessary as a response to an announcement, but a card should be sent.  An invitation to a party/reception requires a gift, but need not be extravagant – cash, check, gift cards – are common.
  • Graduation is a happy, friendly and celebratory event. Make sure you congratulate graduates and wish them much success in their future endeavors!