August 22, 2014

The “We All” of Family

Jun17

Traditions? What feelings does that particular word evoke in you?

If you have been a reader of Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for any length of time, you know that traditions play an integral part of our family make up.

For many of you, your fondest childhood memories revolves around the family traditions that you repeated over and over again.
You hear the word traditions, and it stirs ups recollections of good smells, good feelings, and good times.

You might think of reading by a flashlight on your family camping trips and telling stories around the fire (Note that you have already forgotten the times the tents flooded, and you complained the whole weekend about the pouring rain because now it is only about the precious bonding)

Possibly you think of watching the Fireworks lined up like sardines on a blanket, annual trips to the mountains to cut down the Christmas tree farm, or piling in the van to drive to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving –hail, snow or sleet. For some of you, you can’t have Thanksgiving without a specific traditional recipe, since it  just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it.

For those of you agreeing, there are such powerful associations with these traditions and the memories of your family, aren’t there? Some of you don’t have those recollections, but you desire to start some in your own home, but you just need direction, and that I have for you.

I grew up in home where our family tapestry was rich with traditions. As a child, I didn’t always know why we did specific things, but I could sense the family identity that they were creating and the strong families ties that those traditions provided.  Now, I see the fingerprint of my parent’s desire to live as in intentional family all over those choices.  As my own family has implemented traditions, and  we have begun many of our own, my desire is to have a balance of traditions that are just fun and silly, while planning some that have deeper faith based, legacy building meanings.

Tradition is the practice of handing down stories, beliefs, and customs from one generation to another in order to establish and reinforce a strong sense of family identity… Heritage…!

Our family brainstorms about a 200 year generational plan. Our desire is not just immediate, but our goal is long term, Kingdom building. How do our choices today affect our children and our children’s children.

Does that sound crazy? Sometimes I can barely get through a day, and pray that I can find the strength to get to sleep with out “strangling” my precious teen boys, so attempting to cast a vision for generations is fairly daunting, yet without a vision of some sorts, families crumble. This helps brings so much into perspective.

I know that in our unpredictable, busy schedule there are certain things family counts on – those Traditions were and still are the “We all” of our family. “We always” do this on birthdays, “we always” watch It’s a wonderful Life, and then sleep under the Christmas tree lights on Dec. 23. , “we always” do family devotions as an extended family on the beach during our reunions.

God is the inventor of traditions. Every good gift, including traditions, comes to us “from above, coming down from the Father of lights.”

God centered traditions are the adhesive that can help hold a family together. Not only do they create a sense of identity and belonging, but feelings of safety and security are established by providing predictable and familiar experiences. Many family counselors will encourage creating a family tradition.

Consider traditions as the anchor in this harbor called family. As we are on the boat, some days we can let the sail down and just rest, relax and float – and those days can be fabulous, but finally, in order to go in any real direction, we need to get that sail up, dig in, and establish some hard work, but then when we get to our destination we can anchor again.

Why do I think that establishing traditions is so crucial in building the Faith of our Children? It’s biblical. Throughout scripture, we have modeled traditions to help establish strong family ties. There is a strong theme of remembrance, and whether you come from a faith based perspective or not, those are excellent lessons for all families.

Over and over, the theme of “Don’t forgot” occurs. Don’t’ forget what I have done. Don’t forget what you’ve witnessed.

As parents, that is a reminder to instill that crucial generational legacy, to remind our children of their heritage, to continually pass down a sense of family identity and unity.
Unfortunately, as the American culture embraces individualism,  the “It’s all about me” mentality has gone to a new level and we have specifically chosen to replace the deep roots of family legacy . We have had a gradual loss of identity. We’ve lost that sense of connection that only comes from something that is handed down from generation to generation, yet it’s not too late to start with your own family.

Sometimes as moms, we end up living with so much guilt over all the things that we are not doing, that we end paralyzed and don’t start anywhere. The thing I love with traditions, is that they are truly Little Things that are the Big Things in a child’s life.

A strong Legacy begins today. New traditions begin every day. It’s never too late to be intentional with ones family. At the end, these are the choices one never regrets.

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(See my header under family, for tradition ideas for every holiday and celebration imaginable, and if it’s not there, I probably just haven’t added it to the category yet, but I have it if you ask. :))

This is the first in a series called The Faith of Our Children. We have all addressed the same topic but with many varying and differing views. Please be sure to visit the other women participating, and see how they use traditions to build their children’s faith :


Comments

  1. Well written, Jenn, and so true! I was part of a Family Ministry in Ohio where I was blessed to learn from family expert, Ben Freudenburg. As he put it, “We want to see our children’s children in heaven!” Yes, we have to be intentional and traditions are indeed part of a family plan. Thank you for encouraging us with this.

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  2. I love looking at your beach photos and reading about the things your big ‘ol family does together. Gives me warm fuzzies. :)

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