Even though I’ve been avoiding the malls and busy shopping times, I’m still feeling a bit harried. Eking out time to balance home, work, and spending time with my kids, my husband, and friends makes my head spin at the best of times. The additional tasks of arranging visits and meals makes getting rest very challenging. Thank goodness for family, friends, and play time. I am so grateful for traditions and rituals that help me stay connected to the people I love.
Rituals have a natural way of building anticipation because of their regularity. A family dinner every evening is a ritual. Travelling to school each day is a ritual. Traditions and rituals can be simple, quirky, elaborate, or just plain fun. When we feel unsure or harried, rituals are like a compass to give us direction and help us feel secure.
Although family traditions bring people together in celebration and mourning, they do much more than this. Traditions teach values, pass on our heritage, and create memories, both painful and happy. Rituals provide security and comfort. When a loved one dies or a family splits apart, traditions can help people heal and navigate the changes. When we’re away from home or change a ritual, we often yearn for what is familiar.
Most importantly, rituals help maintain bonds of affection. They help us remember that we love each other because sometimes we forget. When our kids feel secure in our love, they want to follow us and learn our values. That makes parenthood easier.
Rituals can be as simple as a special handshake when you pick up your child from school or a book and snack before bed each night. Traditions can include a special phrase or song. They can start out as a fun vacation or meal prepared in a special way. If the kids share excitement about something they did, that may be the start of a beautiful tradition.
May your daily and seasonal traditions be rich with connection and joy.
What are your traditions and rituals?
Why are they important to you?
Who gets invited?
What fills you up?
In 10 to 20 years, what will your kids remember most about your family?
“If you like to make things out of wood, or sew, or dance, or style people’s hair, or dream up stories and act them out, or play the trumpet, or jump rope, whatever you really love to do, and you love that in front of your children, that’s going to be a far more important gift than anything you could ever give them wrapped up in a box with ribbons. And what’s more: the last thing in the world you have to be is perfect at it. It’s the spirit that gives that kind of gift its wings.” Fred Rogers