Saturday, February 16, 2013

Family Life: Why family traditions are important

Funny, I have few family traditions that I remember as a child.  Both my parents worked and were pressed for time and finances and so we spent very little time enjoying each other's company like I have the privilege of doing with my children.  And I do - count it as a privilege.  I have worked as a high school teacher (not a great one mind you - imagine a woman with a hooked nose, black flowing gown, slightly crazed look on her face and a broom) - and I have worked as a SAHM (stay at home mom) and homeschooler.  And yes we do work, hard!   I have found both to be a challenge but I have definitely preferred my time at home with my children far more than working in a commercial sense.
I used to feel envious listening to other people's stories of the things they did with their family for those well known holidays and celebrations, and felt like I had somehow been excluded or left out - until I realised that just because I couldn't remember too many family traditions of my own, didn't mean that I could not put some in place for our family.  And we have done that - from birthdays to Christmas we are creating repeatable, enjoyable, fun activities for special days and events.  And I am by no way the most original person but boy are there sooooo many resources online to come up with great ideas on what to do.  And I will definitely share some of these ideas with you at some stage in the unidentifiable future.

But besides wanting to be doing what everyone else is doing - there are some very real reasons that make me want to be part of some of these traditions and why I try to establish our own traditions and grow them every year.

*  Memory Moments!
My children remember these activities so well.  Then they say things like "do you remember last year when we did this...." or "the year before when we did that..."  I want them to look back fondly at our family life and  remember.  Not necessarily the specifics, but just the feeling of being together and enjoying each other's company.
*  Something to look forward to
Just by knowing the tradition, gets them even more excited about what's coming.  They start planning that breakfast meal or the card way in advance because they know what's coming and what we do.

*  Sense of Uniqueness
Each family has their own "special" moments.  Yours will never be mine: we're different, we have different budgets, our children are different which is why this is so fun, there is no point in comparing but enjoy the uniqueness of your family.

*  Gives each family member a sense of value
I love the look on their faces when everyone is pouring out love on one specific family member or when special words are written in a card.  Let's be honest, boys are not always the most forthcoming in words of love when it comes to their brothers, but somehow during these special times the words flow and I feel like I have a home of writers and poets.  Often I catch myself getting all teary listening to the things they write, of course an hour later they are rough and tumbling and shouting which almost but not quite erases that impression.
*  A sense of continuity
Traditions are an inheritance to pass on.  Cycles of continuity, doing the same thing again and again adds an element of stability and predictability which is good for children.  And hopefully I will see my children take some of our traditions and apply them to their families while adding some of their own.

*  Joy - which is just a clever way of saying - LOADS OF FANTASTICAL FUN!

*  Relationship Building
The more meaningful time we spend together, the deeper we build with one another.  It really adds depth to our relationships, especially with siblings who are given a platform to express their feelings for one another.  This can be especially significant - "I love you" has such power!

Remember it's not so much about what you do (otherwise you might fall into tradition-envy, trying to outdo another family, or just spending money which you don't have) but rather it's more about the fact that you DO them.  You don't have to overdo it, the simpler your traditions the easier they are to duplicate.  And then on a side note, there are times when we have totally missed some of these big events or have just had a non-event because of circumstances, and there is freedom in that too.  Traditions should not be binding and cause unhealthy stress, life happens and we do our best as parents but we are not always going to get it right!

Why do you have family traditions in your home?  Have you made your own or were they traditions that you inherited from your childhood?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Go ahead, leave a comment! I would love to hear from you!