Sunday, March 22, 2009

Family Traditions

Hi there. Jewel allowed me to guest-write for her blog. This is the first time I've done this so it's an adventure. Thanks for the opportunity.

I'm a 40-something mom of two. I'm a counselor, speaker, and writer in Littleton, Colorado. I'm married to John, and I love Honey Nut Cheerios.

Last summer, my 20 year old daughter suggested we should start a tradition for the Fourth of July. My husband suggested we make homemade ice cream, so we bought an electric ice cream maker with my 20% off coupon at Bed, Bath and Beyond, and our tradition began. For about a week we did nothing besides try ice cream recipes. Our very favorite was cinnamon gelato.

When the kids were little we would pile into the car and drive around looking at Christmas lights. We chose this time to deliver gifts of cookies, or wine to friends of ours. If our friends weren’t home they missed out. For some reason we always picked up some tacos from Taco Bell and ate them in the car. Silly, but this became a family tradition.

On Saturdays in the summer, when we’re not all going different directions, we like to make breakfast burritos and sit outside on the deck. It seems like a lot of our family traditions center around food!

On road trips we listen to the Bare Naked Ladies or Abba, loudly, and we sing along. When the kids were really little we listened to the Adventure in Odyssey series (Focus on the Family). Every once in a while, just for grins, we’ll pull off the highway and run silly circles around the car.

William Doherty, director of marriage and family therapy at the University of Minnesota addresses the importance of family traditions or rituals in his book, “The Intentional Family: How to Build Family Ties in Our Modern World.”

He gives the main reasons family should develop rituals or traditions:

1. * It makes family life predictable.

2. * It gives family a chance to reconnect.

3. * Family rituals teach children what the family values.

Melinda Hall, Extension Agent at Ohio State University says there are 3 different types of traditions:

1. *Celebration Traditions (holidays, birthdays, etc)

2. *Family Traditions (special things which fit your family’s lifestyle i.e. pizza, vacations, etc)

3. *Patterned Family Interactions (bedtime, Sunday afternoons, etc.)

Here is my list to get you thinking about family traditions:

  • Games on popcorn on Saturday night
  • Saying “I Love You” before going to sleep
  • Having a “tailgater” before the ballgame
  • Serving a meal like chili or dumplings before a certain event
  • Acting out the Christmas story from Luke 2 using real people or figures from the crèche.
  • Dancing to a favorite Neil Diamond song
  • Opening one gift on Christmas Eve
  • Having an event such as the Bolder Boulder that you all do together

I need to hear from you. What traditions does your family do?