Family Traditions

Family traditions root our children in their pasts and strengthen them to grow and branch out into their futures.

Most of us think about holiday events or practices when asked about family traditions. But they don’t need to be limited to special days. A tradition is a custom, belief or practice we pass down from one generation to another. It can have special significance like getting married in great-great grandmother’s wedding gown, or be as silly as a family victory dance.

Traditions help children to feel safe, grounded, in their families. They help children to remember who they are, where they came from, who is always going to be on their side. Into adulthood family traditions continue to have a strong influence on us. They help to tie extended family members together. They help us remember those who went before us.

Here are some quick ideas for traditions to establish for your family. Please don’t try to adopt all of them. Add one or two each year to your family’s customs.

  • Weekly family dinners. Set aside one night (or maybe a Sunday afternoon) each week and keep it sacred. It doesn’t necessarily have to be pot roast and fine china. Your family dinner might be spaghetti or hot dogs. But make sure everyone in your family is there. Consider making extended family part of the event.
  • Bedtime rituals. We know these are key to very young children. But don’t fall into the habit of saying, “good-night” and letting the kids put themselves to bed. It might be just a kiss on the forehead, or a tucking-in, or a certain book or prayer. But incorporate it into who your family is.
  • TV athletic events. Have your own tail-gate party without the tail-gate.
  • Mealtime devotions or prayer rituals.
  • Birthday breakfast in bed.
  • Washing the car together every Saturday.
  • Evening walks in a nearby park.
  • Worshipping together weekly.
  • Birthday meals (special for the birthday-ee)
  • Movie or Monopoly night.
  • Vacations to the same spot every year.
  • Making hand-made Christmas gifts for each other.
  • Christmas breakfast deluxe instead of Christmas dinner.
  • Making holiday cookies for neighbors.
  • Serving a homeless shelter together.

The possibilities are endless. Expense and bother are not required to turn ordinary activities into family traditions.

  • Make them sacred—nothing short of dire emergencies prevents them.
  • Make them yours—they help define who your family is.
  • Make them precious—fun or solemn, they’ll be memorable

What are you thankful for today? Remember your ABCs of Gratitude. Today is the T day. How handy!

I am grateful to God for Traditions. They add security, joy, and fun to my life.

And I’m thankful for Teaching and Teachers. What an awesome responsibility and joy it is to lead someone else along the path of lifelong learning. Introducing people to new things and helping them remember important old things.

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