Conversations are forgotten but the tradition of eating dinner and discussing daily events every night cements our family together. The stories that have been told over and over are the ones remembered. It's the traditions and routines that bind our family with a strong bond and keep us going when life gets hard. Two big events happened this year... our oldest went to college and my Father passed away. Traditions helped us keep going and kept us on track.
As our daughter has gone off to college it's interesting to see what traditions she has taken with her. She has personal scripture study. She emails home weekly. She meets with a cousin after devotional for lunch. She has a Friday Lunch with friends. Times that she has set apart and doesn't vary from. It gives her something to plan for and look forward to every week.
As my father aged, it's the traditions that are brought to my memory. The fact that we knelt by our chairs nightly and prayed before dinner and Mom read the Book of Mormon as her dinner got cold. Dad sitting in the hallway telling Smelly Jelly Jake stories to get us to go to bed... this is what I remember, and traditions that I have taken with me.
Some things are planned traditions, others just become! Mothers are the heart of the home, so discuss and think about some traditions you want to incorporate, then put them on the calendar! Childhood is too short to leave to chance. Stop and think about the church's established routines and programs, then make traditions around them. We have morning scripture study and nightly prayer. Sunday night waffles and omelets with new members of our ward. The men in our family go for ice cream after the Priesthood session at conference. The women always attend the General Young Women's Broadcast together. General Conference is a family affair.
Traditions keep us on track, even when perhaps we are too tired or unmotivated. My Mother and father-in-law raised nine children. Two families--the first 5 kids then a space and the last four. The tradition of Sunday night FHE lesson and Monday night activity kept her going to the swimming pool on Mondays long after the excitement was gone.
This year, as my Father got sick, it was the traditions that helped keep our life together during a stressful time. The routine of an established laundry day, dinner at 6 with the whole family, Monday Family Home Evening, holiday traditions, Youth night at church, cleaning schedule, etc. All of these routines and traditions help keep us grounded. We needed the strong rhythms of the familiar to keep us on track, when emotionally-- life went off-kilter.
"So what are some traditions that your family has?" is one of my favorite questions to ask, here are some of our own and others collected from friends:
Birthdays - we always have a "theme" party and the birthday child helps plan the whole thing! It's also a family affair - everyone helps.
Kids create their own cookbook to take to college
Eat nightly at 6 p.m. as a family. We keep "missionary Mail" in the napkin holder and read all about adventures of friends serving around the world.
15 presents at age 15
15 year old trip out of the country
February - no electronics month/games galore/read Aloud books
Father's blessings before each school year
Friday night homemade pizza and movie night
Small hymn book birthday gift at age 12
Summer reading poster
December reading challenge
Go to the temple as a family to do baptisms for the dead
January goal setting
Easter candy and baskets on Saturday and Easter Sunday reserved for Christ
Spring Break get away
General Conference - we all go to every session at the church
12 year old boy gets to go to Conference in SLC
Each child earns their Faith in God award, Personal Progress, Duty to God, Eagle Scout Awards
Family attends each other's sporting events, drama, music, etc.
Road Trips w/o contention
Summer "Kid Camps" (Kids in the Kitchen, Arty Pants, Lego Movie Making camp, etc.)
Each child creates a newsletter or adds to the family blog
Last FHE in November we each share "Our favorite books"
Yearly art project
Yearly family Reunions (Camp Smelly Jelly)
Especially For Youth at 14
Mom paints and cleans bedrooms while girls are at Church Girls camp
Father/daughter date when 11
Friday night pizza and videos
Senior Year - Money class and debit card
Senior Year - "College Cooking Crash Course"
You can leave your thoughts, comments or suggestions here on my feedback page. Thanks!