Family traditions are important.
My fondest memory of my childhood is about my grandfather. He drove a transport truck for as long as I could remember, and his route took him past my home, even though they lived 2 hours away. During the summer, he would pull in to see my family. And occasionally, I’d pack a bag quickly and hop into the truck, to spend a week or two at my grandparents. It was a family tradition to visit my grandparents over the summer, and I just got to go a little earlier.
I loved it. Grandpa was this gentle man, who didn’t mind that I was nose-deep in a book for the trip. I found security in just being with him, and as long as he was around, all was right with my world.
This is what a family tradition does. It fosters that bonding between family members. It creates memories that last a lifetime. The connection and security that comes from a family tradition create a foundation for life. Having a family tradition is important!
A family tradition strengthens family bonds.
For the last four years, I’ve taken my kids to a Christmas tree village and farm. And every year, they ask if we’re going again. It’s become a family tradition. It’s not something that we ever did with my ex husband, and it’s become a way that we’ve made Christmas all our own. Because even if we can’t celebrate the holiday together every year, we can go and get our tree every year, and have fun with all the activities.
This is just one family tradition that has helped us become closer as a family. Another family tradition is that we always hug before someone leaves – whether that’s the girls going with their dad for a weekend visit, or if it’s me leaving them with a babysitter to take one to an appointment. Whenever we are not going to be together, we hug goodbye. It’s just another way that we grow closer, and tighten those bonds.
A family tradition makes memories.
My story of my grandfather and his truck is a memory that has lasted almost thirty-some years. It struck me recently that I want my kids to have memories of doing things with me, as a family, too. So I’ve made a more conscious effort to do little things to develop a family tradition here and there.
Sometimes we get stuck with our work, with our phones, or with the chores and details of running a house. We forget about the memories that make a house a home. I’ve taken yearly family pictures and I have a gallery now on my wall. But somewhere between babies, I forgot to take pictures and print them out. I have photo albums of my oldest, but not very many with my younger children. Those memories are gone now, (unless they are still in my digital files), except for the ones tied to our family traditions.
Family traditions reinforce the memories, by building on them. Every time you repeat the tradition, you remember the last time you did it. And every time you remember, your memory becomes stronger and more long lasting. So if you want to remember your kids when they were this age, and you want your kids to remember theri childhoods, develop a family tradition or two.
A family tradition lays a foundation.
Since family traditions strengthen the bond of a family, and carve those memories, we can use them to lay the foundation for our values and morals with it. You want your kids to learn how to be mature, responsible, compassionate adults? Create a family tradition around those values.
One example we have is around how we apologize. It’s a simple thing — when you’ve hurt someone, even if it was just an accident, you say sorry, and offer a hug. I teach my kids that when you’ve offended someone, unintentionally or not, you should try to make amends, to make it better. It starts with a hug. (We’re a very touchy-feely family!)
This tradition creates habits, and habits are the foundation of our routines and lifestyles. When we’re deliberate about the family traditions we create, we can lay this foundation.
A family tradition creates security.
My kids love Friday nights. Every Friday night its a family tradition. Either it’s with their dad, and they are eating at “Daddy’s favorite restaurant”, where all the servers spoil them rotten, or it’s with me, and we’re having a family movie night. No matter what, it’s family night, and they know exactly what to expect.
Family traditions breed this security in our kids. Children thrive on predictability. The consistency, along with the memories, the foundational value of family, the bonds, all help our families feel safe and secure.
A family tradition connects a family.
These days, despite our increasingly connected world, we seem to have disconnected from each other even more. Recently, one of my girls celebrated a birthday. I took my kids out to dinner. And as we passed the tables to get to ours, table after table had the whole group staring at their phones and tablets. No one was talking to anyone else. They were just scrolling on the screen.
I know it’s a common complaint, but it’s true. And I’m as guilty as most.
Family traditions help to connect us as a family when disconnection is more common. We can relax and enjoy the moment, because the family tradition is special. We turn off the messages and notifications and we take more pictures. We talk more, as we share the memories of previous occasions when we were doing this family tradition. It just brings us together.
Start a family tradition today.
Having a family tradition is so important. There’s no easier way to strengthen those family bonds and connect together. Family traditions lay a foundation for our futures. A good family tradition makes memories to look back on and enjoy. What will you do today to start a family tradition?