Traditions for All Ages

Tradition: the handing down of beliefs, customs, behaviors, information, etc., from generation to generation. What are your traditions? Are they activities or more oral, in the form of story telling? It all counts, you know.

Taking part inIMG_3220 family rituals and habits, no matter how small or sometimes “silly” is a world wide phenomenon.  (And I am not just talking about the ones that revolve around a holiday on the calendar.) Traditions can be any repeat behavior like eating dinner together, going to church, getting pizza on Friday nights with friends, or having family game night twice a month.

Fact is, young people need traditions. Traditions give a sense of security and insight and although young folks may not seem to care, try stopping a few customs and I bet you’ll hear about it! Traditions ground us and are especially important in times of turmoil and change. And don’t think once your kids get to a certain age you are off the hook. Studies show that a strong family culture gives children and teens a sense of identity and helps to ground us all. It’s a great way to pass on cultural knowledge, connect generations together, and create memories. Bonding with family members is not just a concept for newborns … we all need it on a continual basis. Plus, having a customary way of doing something allows humans to have something to look forward too. Even my cat, Rocky, has traditions. Every morning he jumps on the bed for my husband to pet him while putting on his socks and shoes. Then he races to the kitchen and sits in front of the refrigerator until we open it and give him some milk. If for some reason this process gets delayed, the meowing starts and the paw starts to swat us. And my adult children still enjoy getting an Easter basket, playing cards on Saturday night, and fight over whose turn it is to put the angel on the Christmas tree.

I fear sometimes that all the work of creating a day, meal, or event is dampening adult enthusiasm and has caused us to forgo certain age-old practices? When we start thinking the kids don’t really care, so do we … but we must resist that tendency. Get input on traditions from your children and let some new traditions start as a result of their suggestions. This often leads to more involvement on their part. And remember, just because “we have always done it this way”, doesn’t mean it must continue to be so. If your young adult strays from participating in family customs for a few years, don’t panic. They will be back and before you know it, you will be over at their house and find familiar practices going on under their roof.

Make the most of your day!

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