The positive memories from family traditions is enough of an explanation why we need them. There is no right way to create a family tradition. Some traditions even begin by accident. Some traditions stay the same over generations, while others change with each passing year. I have so many valuable memories that I share with my parents, and my children around these fabulous occasions. I hope you can cultivate stronger relationships with your loved ones by cultivating memorable traditions.
Sometimes it can be hard to get everyone together. Some traditions are easier, like holidays, birthdays, and other constant dates. When you have a floating event, like a summer barbeque, it can be hard to get everyone on the same page. Once everyone finally gets together, we appreciate all of the things that hold us together.
I remember the (mostly) delicious foods we would have at the Christmas dinner table. We are from Irish and Polish descent. We would have meat pies, mashed potatoes, breakfast pierogies, and my aunt’s specialty jello. This jello had so many strange things floating in it every year. Every year, my she would make sure my sister and I had a big glob of it on our plates. We HATED it. Now, we look back and laugh about our shared, silent hatred of that recipe. Once we were finished with our meals, my grandfather would take out his Bingo set and we would all play for prizes. This was just one of many great traditions that brought my family closer together year, after year.
Why Are Traditions Like This Important?
Family traditions give members of the family a source of identity.
Each tradition tells a story about your family. Some stories are small. For Example, one day of every year my parents would throw a barbarian night. That’s where we eat without silverware to commemorate the time five-year-old me dumped the silverware out of the window when I was asked to set the table. Some families also rent out the same cottage on the beach so they can remember past experiences there. It can be a great way to gauge how each member of the family is growing individually and within the unit.
Many family traditions tell larger stories than just one event. They go back and paint a background of your heritage, religion, or the history of your ancestors. The food you eat, the way you eat it, and the activities you participate in can show how events have shaped your family throughout time. For example, one of my reader’s families parent’s didn’t practice Judaism at home. Passover was one of the events that shaped their understanding of where they came from and what their heritage means to their family members.
These traditions have an huge effect on how young people shape their individual identities. Children who have these experiences are also often more confident than children who know little about their family backgrounds. It helps them understand how to place themselves within their own families and in the world.
Family tradition strengthens bonds
When you spend time with your family, you get to know them better on an individual level. Families that don’t engage in tradition and ritual don’t have a close bonds as families that do. Keeping constant traditions is a great way to get family members to drop their plans, request time off work, and just enjoy their time together. The face-to-face interactions build trust, and show young people that they are part of a unique and special group of individuals.
They are a great break from stress and offer comfort.
The best family traditions are some of the only constants in my life. My reader told me about how a lot of members of her family suddenly moved around the country for work, or school. However, they still made a point to come together at the family lake house. This was the only constant they had, and it offered them something relaxing and comforting to look forward to no matter what was going on in their lives.
Remember to keep traditions that work, and evolve ones that are becoming stale. Things that work when kids are toddlers won’t be fun for them when they are teenagers. Just because the family is growing up, doesn’t mean it’s time to retire tradition. It just means you need to put some effort into making them work in the new chapter of your family’s life.