30 DAYS of AWESOME PARENTING
(read about the adventure here)
Tip 22: Build your own family traditions
Family traditions are necessary. They are the things that bind us to our kin, and create memories for us that only those in our family or community share. Family traditions are all about belonging. They let us know that we are part of the ‘in’ gang, that we are a tribe member, that we ‘fit’. How important it is for all of us to have somewhere where we ‘fit’ perfectly, especially if we are a child.
I consciously started making new traditions with my daughter, and now with my sons, and I’m lucky enough to belong to a community of like-minded souls for whom ‘rituals’ and ‘traditions’ are commonplace. Thankfully, most of the time these rituals and traditions are not stuck in concrete, done for the sake of doing them, but are responsive and full of movement and real. I’m all for tradition, but I can’t bear it when something is rehashed and rehashed just for the sake of doing it the ‘right way’. For me, a family tradition is something to be looked at with fresh eyes each year/season/month, and rejuvenated with new ideas or inspired thought when necessary, even if it means there is only a tiny sliver of the original tradition left to see.
What kinds of rituals and traditions am I inspired by?
I love the regular ol’ kind. Birthdays. Christmas, Easter, Advent. But I love to throw in a bit of handmade, and make gifts (I’ve been doing this since I was a teen, way before it was cool) and decorate my home a little quirky, or host parties for groups of children and families. I LOVE to be a host- even though it is tiring, the joy of preparing a surprise-filled event for friends and family is so worth it. I also love making up new ways of celebrating birthdays, especially for little children. I love coming up with ways to acknowledge the growth (physical, spiritual and intellectual) of a child each year. One of my favourite ones of late was making personalised beaded birthday medallions for the sweet children in my old Moondew playgroup. I adored the imagery of bestowing a precious gift around their necks, and their heartfelt acceptance of this ritual.
I love seasonal celebrations, acknowledging the turning of the year through the four distinct periods. I love to take note of what is occuring around us in nature, and bring at least a tiny drop of that reality into our home and lives through table displays, photographs, songs, stories, hairstyles, home decoration, mealtime offerings, and craft.
I love discovering what quirky day of the year it is, and sometimes if the mood strikes me, I like to celebrate these too- think Gummi Bear Day, or Catch a Fish day. Yes, there is a day for just about everything. I pick and choose, and if my kids respond to our adventures, we might make it part of our celebrations next year, and the year after too.
I also love simple regular traditions. We have ‘treat day’ on Saturdays, where Ned and I enjoy a chocolate milk and the newspaper. (He the milk, me the paper.) We have ‘buy ice-cream from the ice-cream truck’ Tuesdays, once a fortnight where we invest in a drop of frozen deliciousness. In my book, the anticipation, and smile-filled faces of joy when we hear the ice-cream truck bell outweighs the ‘junk food’ element. If we are home, 9 times out of 10 we buy a box, even if it is just the cheapest plainest thing on the board. Our ice-cream man knows us now, and stops right outside our house! I also love weekend walks/bike rides down to the river, and a monthly ‘dvd’ night where Ned and I both choose a video from the local hire store. We also do regular ‘sleep overs’ at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and Ned will always do the nightly ‘gecko hunt’ by torchlight trek around the house with Grandpa.
But one of my favourite yearly traditions of all is a winter lantern walk. We have Ned’s one coming up this Thursday, and all the families of the preschool have been learning lantern-inspired songs each afternoon just before home time to sing on the night. I can’t wait. There is magic in the air at these things… I never want to miss one.
So, in the spirit of sharing, I thought I’d sing one of these songs for you too.
PS: Oh my, BIG breastfeeding boob alert! Wow. Eye-popping.
Why not come up with one NEW tradition or ritual you might like to create in the next few weeks…?
Is there an event or something that might inspire you to make, bake, or create?
Brainstorming caps on.
Put this new tradition or ritual into ACTION. Why not take a photo and send it to me? firstname.lastname@example.org or simply let me know what you are choosing to do. Perhaps your new tradition might inspire me, or my blog readers, to try it too!
Commit to the task by writing it down here in the comments below or in your 30 days of AWESOME journal.
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