Families do not become strong unintentionally. It takes intentional planning of activities that create memories for your family to share. For example, many of you posted pictures recently in social media of your family’s first day of school traditions. Creating these important traditions takes time and commitment by everyone in the family. Rituals and traditions provide the family glue. These traditions are intentional, repeated, consistent and coordinated and are significant to family members. In most families, traditions are created, changed and blended over time.
What is your family glue? When I was a little girl, my family always had a large Sunday meal after church in our home in Kansas. We set the table with our best dishes and all of us helped wash the dishes afterwards (no automated dishwasher on Main Street). My mother fried chicken or prepared a roast with all the fixings. There was a lot of food. We always sat down at the dining room table all together. Sometimes, my parents invited family friends to join us. These meals lasted more than an hour sometimes two depending on the conversation.
In our home, RM grills homemade pizza most Friday nights. We usually have my egg rolls on Christmas eve but this ritual is now changing with a new tradition of traveling together instead of gathering at our home on Ashland like we have in the past. At Easter, we always had an egg hunt in the yard. At birthdays, I baked the cake but RM decorated it. We all love our Kansas Jayhawks and basketball. Many families traditionally have a door frame where they keep rough pencil lines marking off the height of their kiddos as they age. There is probably an app for this now.
Do you have a tradition of watching certain movies together as a family? Jaws, Christmas Vacation, and Jurassic Park are some of ours. For several years, we had the tradition of going together to a newly released movie in the afternoon of a major holiday like the 4th of July, Thanksgiving or Christmas.
The start of school is always a stressful time for families. And this year in particular there is stress on families due to the assault on south Texas by Hurricane Harvey. Sticking together, with the help of family glue, may be the best path forward. And of course, time.
Traditions can have a calming effect on both parents and children. Research shows that they produce many other positive benefits, like improving family cohesion, fostering stability and promoting social development in children. Our hearts go out to our friends and families in south Texas and know we are thinking about you and doing our best to support you through the coming weeks and months.
“A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But in our little village of Anatevka,
you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof,
trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy.
You may ask, why do we stay up there if it’s so dangerous?
We stay because Anatevka is our home… And how do we keep our balance?
That I can tell you in one word… Tradition.”