Archive for the ‘Traditions’ Category

Today my 4th child turned 11. That means he was home today from school and got extra added attention. That seems to be our family birthday tradition that our kids look forward to the most.

Kids thrive on certainty. It is what gives them security. Our world these days is so fast paced with things constantly changing. It is a comfort to kids (and adults) to know that certain things do not change. It gives meaning when certain days, events and holidays are made special and bring with them certain rituals.

My conversation this morning with the birthday boy went like this:

Me: So what family traditions do we have for birthdays?
Him: We get to stay home from school.

Me: What else?
Him: We get balloons.

Me: And?
Him: We get chocolate chip cookies.

Me: Anything else?
Him: We get presents.

Me: That’s it?
Him: No, we go out to eat in a restaurant.

That was good enough for me. It told me he knew that on his birthday he can expect certain things. He can expect to be made to feel special. Aside from all that he mentioned above, he also got his sister to stay home from school as well. He got ice cream. He got a pudding with whipped cream and he got away with just about anything he wanted.

So why is it so important for me to have family traditions?
It’s because traditions foster closeness and they are the glue that keeps families together.

With the birthday traditions maybe it is important for me because in my house birthdays weren’t really made a big deal over. Hmmm, I think my 11th birthday was even forgotten until I reminded my parents who very quickly went out and bought me a gift. Or maybe it is because in my husband’s house it was a big deal and became ingrained in him and he has passed it onto me. Maybe it is a combination of both.

Traditions don’t have to be time consuming or elaborate. They can be as simple as having a certain set meal on a certain night of the week. In our house unless there is some special reason not to, Thursday is hot dog night.

Traditions can be as simple as saying bedtime prayers with your children.

Traditions can be as simple as bedtime story time.

Traditions can even be as simple as knowing to expect a call on your birthday from a certain relative who always makes it their business to call on your special day. My grandmother used to be like that and would never forget birthdays. Two years ago was the first time she forgot my birthday, and it was only then that it hit me hard how bad her memory was getting. My kids and their cousins know that my MIL always remembers their birthday.

Traditions can be setting a certain day a year for a family picnic.

Traditions can be taking a yearly family vacation.

Traditions can be a certain way you celebrate your anniversary.

In my house, I find that being religious and Sabbath Observant by themselves create important family traditions. We have the Sabbath meals together. We always celebrate the holidays along with family. There are also many other traditions associated with the Sabbath and other holidays. In addition we also celebrate the childrens Jewish coming of age with a traditional party.

For different religions it can be different things. Like carving pumpkins, collecting certain ornaments or hunting Easter eggs. (I apologize for not knowing traditions and customs in many other religions).

I think family traditions are so important for the closeness of your family. Just remember that while it is important to have enough traditions you also don’t want to go so overboard that the sheer number of traditions you have make them all meaningless.

Start small. Start with one tradition at a time. Adapt them to suit your family. Just remember to make them special.

What is your favorite family tradition?

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