A couple of months ago I started this ‘series’ of blog posts on passing down your family’s memories by reminding you of the importance of telling your children stories about their grandparents and about your childhood. Part two was about giving back your children mementos of their childhood by creating ‘keep forever’ boxes. Today in part three I want to talk about the importance of family traditions.
I can almost hear some of you groaning thinking about some of the things your parents insisted upon during your growing up years. In fact, you still aren’t sure you’ve fully recovered from the disappointment of missing your friend’s Memorial Day party when you were in the eighth grade because it was your family’s tradition to visit the graves of people you never knew and then end the day at your grandparents’ house making homemade ice cream. You vowed that day (in between bites of ice cream) that you would never make your kids suffer like you had to. Family traditions? They wouldn’t even know the meaning of the phrase!
If that pretty much describes your thoughts on the matter, I want to encourage you to reconsider and even go so far as to change your mind on the matter. And here’s why…
Family traditions create strong family bonds. Family traditions give us (both children and adults) a greater sense of security and stability. Children from families with a few traditions are also found to be more confident, resilient, and more socially adept than children from families where traditions are nonexistent.
I didn’t need reports to tell me these things, though, and I can vouch for the validity of their claims because …
· Seven-up® floats with potato chips and dip during Gun Smoke
· Going to Grandma and Grandpa Widener’s on Sunday afternoon
· Family reunion…third Saturday of July (now September)…no matter what
· Grandma Noble’s Christmas stocking hunt with goofy poems for clues
· Zach’s angel at the top of the Christmas tree…forever
· The birthday boy or girl gets to choose just about everything for that day
· Linda’s trick-or-treat bags and Christmas decorations
· Cornbread with beans because you can’t have one without the other
· Deer camp
So go ahead—hold your head up high and start (or carry on) a few family traditions. But remember: bling and ‘wow effect’ aren’t what make a tradition special or meaningful. Permanence and a sense of connection are what make a tradition special. Some of the best traditions are simple, quiet things—like Seven-up floats, sitting around the fire at deer camp, or a dilapidated paper angel perched on top of a Christmas tree.
Don’t worry if your kids don’t seem to appreciate or even notice your family’s traditions. They might not seem to be important to them now, but trust me; the day will come when they will be glad and thankful for them.
Copyright 2017 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.