When I was a wide-eyed college student, without a clue of how to raise healthy, happy children, I heard a Christian professor speak passionately on the value of creating traditions in a home. He shared the Christmas rituals of his own family, and then described that these yearly activities function like glue—they help bond individuals into a family unit. This insightful man explained that it did not matter what the rituals were, like wearing certain clothes or eating at a certain time. What mattered was that they were done year after year. That is, of course, what makes them a tradition.
So, as my husband and I began our family, I was constantly on the alert, looking for the kinds of activities to implement that would hold our family together. And, honestly, some of the things I tried fell flat. . .as flat as last week's balloon. My kids often looked at me with puzzled faces as I enthusiastically described the newest "tradition" we were going to institute. I had no idea how to find the "right" rituals to glue my family together, but I was determined to keep trying until we found them!
Fast forward two decades. My "littles" were now bigger than me, and there were far more things on my plate than trying to find the right tradition.The issues of the day were things like cars, colleges, and careers.It was then that I discovered that we DID have traditions. Somehow, as we had discovered what we loved individually and as a group, we had stumbled into the distinctiveness of our family. And in our distinctiveness, we had developed traditions that fit us like a glove.
Before I tell you what they were, let me tell you what they weren't. We did not eat the exact same meals from Christmas to Christmas. We did not have the same people over, nor go to the same places. We did not always build snow sculptures or ice sculptures or cake sculptures. We were not able to keep up with the Joneses, and we eventually quit trying. However, we DID go caroling as a family, singing in 4-part harmony. We built miniature gingerbread houses and delivered them to the folks we caroled. We made by hand nearly all of our gifts. We chose and cut down our own tree. And we laughingly argued every year about whether to open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
What I have learned since the day that I heard the professor speak is how important it is to find the traditions that fit your family.Those are the ones that will bind you together in joy, laughter, and rich memories.
Remember, stay relational....