Your Children’s Lighthouse…
“I left the light in my heart on in case you ever wanted to come back home.” –Unknown
My son and daughter are adults now but one of the sweetest sounds to me is the oft recited “But Daddy—it’s our tradition!” When I hear these words I simply smile and acquiesce to the moment because I know that each time I do-I’m simultaneously making an investment and a withdrawal. I’m planting seeds for the future born of moments in the past that are as perennial as the seasons. A delicate balance of remembrance mixed with hope and anticipation.
So, What’s the Big Deal? It’s important that children have things they can count on. A child’s stability stems in large part from acquired trust. When children know that certain family celebrations, events, and traditions are guaranteed- they gain confidence in parents who deliver and keep their word. Family traditions and rituals are also a needed respite from the harried feeling that comes from our fast-paced and ever-changing world. It’s comforting to have a few constants in life. It’s reassuring to know that some fires will never be extinguished and that some wells will never run dry.
Strengthen the family bond. Researchers have consistently found that families that engage in frequent traditions report stronger connection and unity than families that haven’t established rituals together. Traditions provide an all-too-rare chance for face-to-face interaction, help family members get to know and trust each other more intimately, and create a bond that comes from feeling that one is part of something unique and special. It’s where stories of the past collide with future stories unfolding in the present. It’s where we honor and remember those who lit our path so many years ago while embracing our own duty to keep their stories and traditions alive within the framework of building our own memorable legacies.
“Recollection is the only paradise from which we cannot be turned out.” –Jean Paul Richter
Life will test all of us in unimaginable ways. What makes these memories priceless are not the pleasures derived when recalling them during good times, but the lifeline they give us to survive the harshest of times. Our worst nightmares will come in the form of despair, loneliness, hopelessness, rejection, failure, fear, isolation, sickness, and other nagging maladies. It is during these times of strife and uncertainty that we are often saved by recalling those special moments of our family traditions. Memories of baking Christmas cookies in grandma’s kitchen suddenly lighten our dark path and give us hope. The laughter and joy of past holidays and family events give buoyancy to our despair and difficulties and remind us how good it feels to smile. We close our eyes and go back to a time and place where unconditional love provided warmth and light during dark, cold nights.
Family traditions and celebrations aren’t just “things” we do. Instead, they are the events and rituals that define our families, who we are, and what we will likely become… or have become. You’ve heard it said that a chain is as strong as its weakest link. Don’t jeopardize your kids by leaving them spiritually bankrupt. Create a lifetime of memories through a lifetime of family traditions that will forever be the porch light that we all know will never be turned off…