In my area, flea markets are more popular than the mall. On any given Saturday or Sunday, cars and trucks will line the highways. They are full of people who are willing to walk down dimly lit paths where vendors sell everything from hamburgers to hardware. The prices at these places are always negotiable and tax is always included – or maybe even disregarded. These places have always given common folk opportunities to take what they have and sell it, or trade it for something they want more. It’s as much a gathering place as anything. When I was young, I had a friend who was a wholesale knife dealer. He would always let me know when he came through town so I could meet him and buy his knives. I usually came away with ten or fifteen that I could use for trade bait. In those early years, I learned to trade the hard way; usually coming away with something worth less than I paid for it. Since those days, I have bought many knives, guns, hardware, and hamburgers at my local flea market. I probably lost a lot of money but gained a lifetime of lessons and memories. I can remember taking my son to his first flea market. He had never been to a “store” where the price wasn’t really the price and where the guy selling something was just as interested in buying something. He had a good time.

Days like these continue to remind me how important it is for me to pass down some traditions to my children and grandchildren, even if those traditions will eventually be lost by a new generation. And some of them need to be. That’s the problem with most of us as we get older; we think tradition is always truth. In fact, sometimes we fight over traditions more than we do truth, especially in our churches. As a result, we lose the next generation. Truth is never negotiable. It can stand alone or be housed in a church, castle, or correctional institute. It is truth. Its author is God. It does not change. Tradition is negotiable. It is man-made. It can change. And if it hinders people from getting to the truth, it must change. Are you building your life on truth or on tradition? Are your greatest convictions based on truth or tradition? The best way to answer these questions may not be to ask yourself, but your children. They will either see a truth that is alive and good for all generations, or one that has been replaced by the dead traditions of days past.

Gary Miller has written the Outdoor Truths article for 20 years. He has also written four books which include compilations of his articles and a father/son devotional. He also speaks at wild-game dinners and men’s events for churches and associations. Reach him at

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