Friday, 12 August 2016

Traditions and your family ...

Creating family memories and traditions is something that is very close to my heart and has been for many many years.  Traditions within your family is the cement, the foundation and the core of your family identity.  It's the anchor that helps your children know who their family is and keeps their hearts alive with joy and anticipation.  It's the activity they remember as adults when they reflect on when they think back on their growing up years.

Traditions can be created on purpose or evolve over time, they create our family identity and teach our children something of the reality of God in our lives.  Special moments don’t just happen they are planned on purpose.  Consider creating links between generations so that our children understand the heritage that is theirs.

What does the bible say?
I got to thinking about why would we have traditions and realised that the Lord Himself would create memorials when ever He did something for the Israelites.  Traditions help the Jewish people KNOW who they are.  It defines them as a culture!

Jesus himself told the disciples "Do this in remembrance of me ..."

Psalm 77: 11—12
I will remember the deeds of the Lord,
I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will meditate on all your works,
and consider all your mighty deeds.

Define Tradition
  • a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time
  • a long-established custom
  • the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation
  • an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior
  • cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
Dr. Dobson says:‘The great value of traditions comes as they give a family a sense of identity, ‘belongingness’. All of us desperately need to feel that we’re not just a cluster of people living together in a house, but we’re a family that’s conscious of its uniqueness, its personality, character and heritage, and that our special relationships of love and companionship make us a unit with identity and personality.’ 
Pondering the words above I realised that as a family our morning cup of tea together is something we've always done.  It's a natural part of our identity.  It's not something we have to work at or something that is forced.  It's something we do because we love doing it together.

A few years ago I attended a workshop with Diana Waring and she shared the story of how her family found their own family tradition. I was particularly struck with her sharing how she was trying to do all this stuff with her family because it was what "everyone else" was doing and she felt she was not a good mom if they weren't doing it.  She came to realise they were doing stuff just for the sake of doing stuff and no one in the family was enjoying it. One day she realised what their family enjoyed doing over the holiday season was their own personal family tradition and it took no effort to do because everyone wanted to do it.

Frequency of Traditions
  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Yearly 
  • Holiday Specific
  • Life change/milestone traditions
  • Graduation traditions
  • Birthday traditions
  • Milestone traditions
  • Wedding traditions
  • Seasonal traditions
  • New Year traditions
  • Farewell traditions.

Some ideas to cultivate as a traditions
  • Read a book aloud together Every Day.
  • Not Back to School Party This is one that surprised me. We never set out to make it a tradition but it's one Nathaniel and his friends ask about every year.
  • Celebrating Advent
  • Christmas Traditions This is one I'm particularly passionate about!
  • Enjoying a cup of tea together as a family before beginning your day.
  • Weekly family movie night
  • Favourite weekly family meal on a certain day of the week (Our family meals was macaroni and cheese and to this day it's the meal my siblings want when we get together with a particular pudding!)
  • Holding hands when we pray a blessing on the meal.
  • Board games night
  • Attending certain annual events (for us this is Night Zoo, Christmas in Melbourne and Winter Fireworks in Docklands) 
  • Eating a particular treat over the holidays which is ONLY eaten then.  We have a waffer biscuit we all enjoy and I only purchase them for eating during Advent.
  • Going out once a month for a special treat (ice cream, donuts, lunch etc)
  • Taking a picnic basket with a pre-packed flask on field trips.
Now a tradition is not a rut. A rut is doing the same things year after year because you don't have enough imagination to do anything new. A tradition is something you do once and discover a joy so deep that you do it again, Christmas after Christmas, to keep on savoring it and make it last -  Franklin Saunders (page 23 At Home in Dogwood Mudhole )
Further Reading on the WWW
Celebrations are the ritualized interruptions in the continuum of daily life which remind us who we are, where we came from and where we are going.” -Milo Shannon-Thornberry
For more information on Traditions the Schoolhouse Review Crew will be sharing their thoughts and linking up below.

5 Days of Homeschool 101


  1. Somday I am going to share tea with you!!

  2. Traditions definitely do become part of our identity as a family. I know they are so much of what I remember as a child and they are very important to my children. Sometimes, they evolve without even realizing it until one of the girls we say "but we always do that." Then I know - it is important. So we do whatever that was. - Lori

  3. Great ideas for traditions. They are definitely an important part of our family and I love the ones I have carried on from my childhood and passed down to my kids.

  4. Traditions are so important aren't they? Part of the family glue. :)

  5. wise lesson learned from Diana Waring. I would say most of our family traditions have come about almost by accident, although we certainly have been intentional about doing some things that have become traditions. Seems like some of our most loved traditions are very simple things - sort of like your morning tea.

  6. Sometimes in the midst of doing something we will realize we have created a family tradition. I think we have quite a few of them :)

  7. I really enjoyed this post. As a homeschooling mom of 7, I look for ways to make intentional memories with the kiddos. Thank you for the additional ideas!
    Jill Messenger


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