Traditions create a special bond within a family. Some are inherited patterns of behavior or beliefs that are passed down from generation to generation, while others are new rituals that are created that are unique to your family.
They are things that families do together on a regular basis that can be repeated daily, weekly, monthly or annually. They can range from Saturday morning trips to the donut store or reading a bedtime story each night to yearly vacations at the beach or spending Christmas at Grandma’s house.
Research has shown that traditions add stability to family life. When changes or storms come into a family’s life, traditions help children feel safe by maintaining a sense of normalcy within the family. Even in the midst of difficult times or transitional times within the family, it is important to continue celebrating milestones and traditions. Expected activities in children’s lives give them a sense of security.
“The great value of traditions comes as they give a family a sense of identity and belonging. All of us desperately need to feel that we are not just a cluster of people living together in a house, but we are a family that is conscious of its uniqueness, its personality, character, and heritage, and that our special relationships of love and companionship make us a unit with identity and personality.”
– Jim Dobson.
When you are thinking of new traditions for your family, look for ways to keep Christ at the center of your family rituals. Time that you already spend together is a great opportunity in which to build in new these traditions. Dinner time is a perfect time to deepen your relationships with your family. There are many tools that you can purchase to help you or you can create your own. Family Dinner Box of Questions-Faith Edition is a simple way to get your family sharing with each other as you share a meal around the dinner table and it is something that your kids will look forward to if you make it part our your daily routine. Holidays are also a great time to implement spiritual traditions in your family. Christ-centered family rituals will help strengthen your family and help them withstand the storms.
It is also good to keep in mind the core values you want to teach your children as you decide on new traditions. For instance, if you want to raise service-minded children, then you could begin serving in homeless shelters together or visiting nursing homes at special times throughout the year. Want to produce mission- minded children? Take your vacation time to go on a yearly mission trip. To promote healthy living you can participate in family friendly fun runs at certain times throughout the year such as the Turkey Trot in Dallas.
As your children get older, it is just as important to continue these special traditions. It is easy to allow your busy schedules or their age to keep you from spending quality together as family; however, in order to maintain a strong family bond keep celebrating these special times with your children. In years to come, they too will pass these unique experiences down to their children.
There are no rules to family tradition! The most important thing is to make the most of the time that you have together, you do not have to do the same things that another family does. You can create moments that are distinctly and uniquely your own. Be intentional with every moment of every day and teach them to love the Lord with all their heart!
Need ideas? Start with one of these: The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Every Day by Meg Cox, Let’s Make a Memory and Creating Family Traditions by Gloria Gaither and Shirley Dobson.