Do you think of a family tradition as something that has to be a magnificent event. Well it doesn’t. A family tradition can be as simple as a meal, a phone call or a family prayer.
Years ago when my children were just beginning to grow into their own, I realized that pretty soon they would be out and gone. I felt the need to make sure that they carried things along through their lives that they would cherish and remember forever about family. I had the memory of waking up every holiday to the smell of the most amazing aromas coming from our kitchen. The memory of no Christmas tree, but a large bowl of fruit and candies placed out each Christmas morning.
My mother would always get up early somewhere around 4am and begin her holiday meals. Her meals were amazing. The house would be filled with the aroma of a turkey and sirloin roast both roasting in the oven, cakes, cookies and pies. She always had fresh baked biscuits for breakfast with tomato gravy or pancakes and sausages. In other words, she had the traditional mega holiday meal in the works every Thanksgiving or Christmas morning. We would wake up to the aroma of fresh baked biscuits made from scratch with jam and butter ready to eat. After eating, we would rush out the door to find our friends for a day of play.
My siblings and I had no idea we were considered poor. We had everything we felt we needed and more. But the most wonderful blessing of all was that we had the love of our parents and they stayed together until death parted them.
As I reflected on my childhood, I began to wonder about the things my children would remember when they became adults. I wondered what memories would my children have of their childhood. What would they cherish and carry forth into their family. What family traditions would they look back on later and smile.
My husband and I began to create unique things to do with the boys each holiday. One of our traditions which we still do today is to wake our children up early for a family prayer. Before the prayer, my husband would read from the Bible a verse relative to the holiday. We would then discuss the verse or the holiday with the boys. After our discussion, we would all bow our heads as my husband prayed.
A few years ago, somehow my siblings and I began having a conference call each holiday. I really do not know how it started. Perhaps because we could not get together at the family home each holiday as we had prior to 1990. We started first with one sibling calling another. The sibling called will conference connect another, the next sibling would conference call another and so forth until we are all on the phone. We then begin to discuss things from the past, the present and the future. We go from one conversation to another based upon whatever pops into our heads at that point. One sibling might start reflecting on a childhood event, another might begin by discussing the meal planned, another jokes about previous disastrous meals prepared during the holidays and so forth. Whatever the discussion, we laugh, joke and entertain each other for hours. Generally, while we are having the traditional sibling conference call, we are cooking, talking with children or watching television.
Our spouses or children find this either quite entertaining that the seven of us are on the phone for this length of time each holiday or a few of our significant others in the past have become quite envious of these calls and the relationships. Nonetheless, we continue to this day with this tradition.
As my mother use to always say, ‘Blood is thicker than water.’ She encouraged our close relationships and made it a requirement that we remember to take care of each other while she was alive and long after she had departed. She reflected on the value of family.
It’s important that children have good memories of their childhood to carry them through the trials of life. Our childhood memories are the tools that keep us when life seems to want to pull us down. It’s important to begin today developing and fine tuning events that will form traditions that will remain with the family throughout the ages.
Ideas for a Family tradition can begin with a road trip each holiday. Or a visit to your favorite restaurant or even your church each holiday. A family outing to the mall or to a playground even a museum. Your family tradition does not have to cost you any money. You can begin a family tradition by simply having a family prayer, purchasing an item that reminds you of an event or family occurrence, reading a book related to the holiday. Taking a picture and a group story drafted by the family to reflect back on in years to come.
Whatever your family feels is important, begin to work to make it a tradition. The value of family will last throughout the ages. A family tradition will be something your children will carry forward from one generation to the next and when life is hard, reflecting on family traditions can sometimes be the tool that saves us.