What is important about family traditions?
It’s almost that time of year for celebrations of various kinds to begin. In our home, Halloween marks the beginning of the Holiday Season. We try to spend as much time as possible celebrating and being with family and friends.
With the Holidays also comes the heightened times of traditions. Traditions are ways that families and friends have used, throughout the ages, to bring them together and create a connection with future and past generations. Many times the tradition may have originated for a practical reason and now it may have taken on a more celebratory meaning.
Reasons to Observe Family Traditions
Family/Friends traditions create good feelings and special moments to remember.
Family/Friends traditions give every member of the family a stronger sense of belonging.
Family/Friends traditions help youth with their identity.
Family/Friends traditions help parents impart the family’s values to their children.
Family/Friends traditions offer youth a sense of security.
Source: Michigan State University Extension
While traditions may have been handed down through the years, new ones can be created to reflect new ideas and circumstances. To start new traditions, reflect on past times that have brought a smile to your face and/or a warm feeling to your heart. Even though you may have practiced the tradition in a particular way, you may still be able to experience the comforting feelings by expressing the reflection in another way. For example, in our home the pandemic brought many changes to our traditions during the Holidays. A new tradition that emerged during this time is family driveway gatherings. Remembering Christmas in July, we brought summer campfires to November and December.
Now that the Holidays are upon us, perhaps you may want to think of a new or continuing tradition that reflects where you, your family and fiends are at this time.
Now is the time to reflect on your traditions.
Traditions have a way of keeping us grounded and healthy.
New traditions can always be formed.
If appropriate, allow new traditions to form on their own.
Allow your traditions to honor the past and the future.
Approach other family and friends about their traditions and desires.
Things to Limit
Getting stuck in your traditions.
Orchestrating traditions to make certain feelings felt.
Believing that you have no traditions.
Quote of the Week
“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response.”
~Arthur M. Schlesinger
In summary, traditions build memories and life experiences that give beauty to our worlds. They have a way of crystalizing moments that carry us forward throughout our life. They teach the younger generations what emotional wealth has come before them and they are a treasure of emotions for the older generations.
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The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P and Chief Academic Officer and Dr. Helen E. Battisti PhD, RDN, CDN, Chief Nutrition Officer, at SpNOD, Health Promotion Specialist, Research and Clinical Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and former Assistant Professor.
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