“Hey Mom, don’t forget that we’re going out for pizza after this last game of the season.
It’s a tradition, remember?”
“Dad, when are you going to get the bales of hay and pumpkins for your autumn masterpiece?
Can I go, too? It’s a tradition, you know!”
Tradition—just the word sometimes sounds old and from past generations, doesn’t it? Yet family traditions have helped many a family stay together and strong over the past years, and probably for generations to come. Traditions are so important in families. The sense of security and love that is felt when observing traditions as a family will stay with our children for the rest of their lives. As homeschooling families, we have a unique opportunity in today’s society to enjoy a wide variety of traditions for all kinds of events and observances and integrate them into our learning lifestyle. These traditions are woven into the fabric of our family, making it stronger and more memorable for everyone.
As a child, I grew up in a family filled with love, children, and plenty of traditions. My parents worked to build the strength of our family with some traditions that were simple and yet special. We lived far away from any relatives, so our traditions had to be based on our immediate family, and what a blessing those traditions were. My parents didn’t realize that these traditions would get us through some very tough times and keep our family close through thick and thin over many years and generations yet to come.
Early on Sunday mornings, my dad would drive to Krispy Kreme to get hot doughnuts for our family while Mom got all of us ready for church. To this day, when I bite into a warm Krispy Kreme doughnut, I remember Sunday mornings and my dad’s smile as he came through the door with those fresh doughnuts. It was a very simple tradition that meant so much then and means even more now. When we are visiting my childhood hometown, we still visit the same shop and share smiles and memories that cross generations.
When I was a young teenager, our family lost my father to cancer when we were from 8 to 15 years old. Yes, it was tragic and it was heart-rending, and we drifted in and out of being convinced that our happy family life had ended. However, my mother worked hard to keep us safe and housed and educated, but she worked even harder through it all to maintain our family traditions, and these added much-needed cement to our family through some very trying times. We still belonged to the family, the family was still strong, and these traditions gave us a sense of security and predictability in a world that had changed very quickly. Traditions became the ties that we needed as we grew and changed, even while some things never changed.
The variety of traditions is infinite, and I’ve heard of some unique family traditions in all of my travels around this great country. But that is one of the things that makes them special—they are YOUR family’s traditions, unique to you all.
Here are some ideas for traditions that your family might enjoy:
With the end of a sports season or a church performance or other special occasion, have an ice cream sundae party at the local ice cream shop. Sometimes a tradition like this can be a “floating” tradition—one of recognition for feats accomplished.
With the birth of each child, plant a special tree, have a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol (contact your congressman to do this), hold a special family celebration to welcome the new family member, and don’t forget to take plenty of pictures.
With the marriage of each child or sibling, have a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol or plant an evergreen tree to mark the occasion.
When having a holiday get-together or family reunion, try to find a ceramic plate that can be autographed with a permanent marker, and have everyone sign the plate. Bring out the plate at future get-togethers for sharing memories and smiles.
One holiday tradition that we have observed for many years is enjoyed around the kitchen table. In the evenings, we gather and paint those small, plaster village houses to create an interesting holiday village. The tradition of gathering around the kitchen table to paint and be creative has brought about some fascinating conversations and treasured insights into each family member, not to mention the “unique” pieces of art that have been created!