One of the cornerstones of a strong family is the traditions that they hold and practice. These common activities are the glue that holds a family together through all the problems that they may face. Whether it is something as simple as breaking bread together just once a week or as complex as that Yule time trip to see relatives.
As I have always said we live in a hectic world, one that is counterproductive to the idea of family and the idea of creating routine and structure. Both of which are important to the creation of a strong family. So if we can take, or make, the time to carve out some of these traditions then it will help to instill family values into our children. This also gives us the much needed opportunity to talk about our lives in a relaxed environment.
The benefits of building family traditions reach far beyond the present and even the near future. Research shows that children raised in families with traditions are far less likely to do drugs or engage in other risky behavior. These traditions can become their “escape” from the struggles that we all face in growing up and just living.
In my own family, I have strived to create traditions that I hope will outlast my children. Something that my children, when they get older, will want to repeat with their children. I know this seems like this should be the definition of traditions but I have seen many parents, with good intentions, focus more on activity than on making the traditions fun. The fun part is what is most important, get the children engaged and they will want to do it over and over again.
The holidays are an easy time to create these traditions. Whether we make candles at Imbolc or hunt for eggs at Ostara or carve Jack-o-Lanterns at Samhain, there are countless things that we can do that our children will remember for years and decades to come. But what about the time between the Sabbats and other holidays?
These times are just as important as the rest. The question is, what to do? For as we all know in our modern world, and the world many of us grew up in, we do not have our own family traditions to fall back on. We do not have that legacy passed down to us from our parents or grandparents. This leaves us at a loss as to how to begin.
So here are some suggestions:
- Read to your kids
- Have at least one meal together each week (that includes all of the family)
- Pray together
- Take at least one day a week for family fun – whether it is outside or inside just have fun
This is just a small list of ideas and your list can be much longer. The important thing to remember is to just get started.
So take some time today and have a family meeting tell them what you are trying to do, you may want to talk this over with your partner before you start, just to be prepared. But start today on the journey of building traditions. You may have to float a small armada of trial balloons to find something that sticks but don't be discouraged just keep at it, your kids will eventually thank you for your efforts.