The Role of Traditions in Establishing Family Unity
What kind of traditions do you have in your family?
What are traditions?
When we think of traditions, we usually think of special days such as birthdays and holidays. The things we do on these occasions celebrate our family's culture, heritage, and personality. Traditions not only have to do with the way we dress, eat, and speak, but the way we pray, the symbolism we use, and the activities we enjoy.
Each family has its own way of doing things, and as such, creates its own culture. Often this culture is a mixture of their country of origin, the things they remember and treasure from their own families, their likes and desires, and the place they choose to live.
No matter where they come from, traditions form the substance of which our family life is made. The unity we experience as a family depends in large measure on the traditions we establish early in the lives of our children.
Traditions are the welding link that bind our children to our family. They bring our children home, anxious to create memories that they know they will treasure, give reasons for doing the things we do, and provide us with a sense of purpose, identity, structure, and stability.
You've been given a great treasure, not of silver or of gold. It's one that's made in heaven, long before the days of old. This prize is of great value, but never money will it buy. You must keep and guard it, or from you it will fly.*
- Roles and Responsibilities in the Family
There are primary and secondary roles and responsibilities within the family. Primary are biologically based according to male and female; whereas secondary are divided among family members.
Types of traditions
The traditions we establish in our home frequently have to do with the way we:
- Prepare and serve food
- Dress, and the roles we play in our home
- Celebrate, the holidays and holy days
- Gather, with immediate and extended family
- Resolve conflict or differences
- Pray, our religious beliefs and ceremonies
Traditions are a powerful force in our lives. Many are unspoken, they are just "the way" that we act and expect our children to act. We, their first teachers, may not know why we do these things ourselves, we just know that they are important to us, and we want our children to do them.
These traditions may be adopted by choice, as we establish practices that express our beliefs and identity. In doing so, we create within our home a solid structure of activities that brings our family about us, developing togetherness and a sense of unity. Our family is the single most definitive influence in the lives of our children.
Sometimes teenagers scoff at the traditions of their parents. When this happens to us, it is best to help our children understand where these traditions come from. Oftentimes, as they learn about their ancestors, and our own past, they will grow in their understanding of our way of life. We can also tell our children that when they establish a home of their own, they will be able to establish their own traditions. More often than not, these children, once they leave our homes, realize our wisdom and adopt many of the same traditions.
I speak of your great heritage, your family's good name. They worked for generations to build it's current fame. They sailed across the ocean, they forded hill and dale. They settled and they planted, they hauled both wood and pail. They prayed and read the scriptures, they did not forget the Lord. He blessed them and they prospered, they believed his every word.
In the Church we can teach about the materials from which a shield of faith is made: reverence, courage, chastity, repentance, forgiveness, compassion. In church we can learn how to assemble and fit them together. But the actual making of and fitting on of the shield of faith belongs in the family circle. Otherwise it may loosen and come off in a crisis.— Boyd K. Packer
Traditions help us forge bonds that cannot be broken
Traditions are those things that we do on a regular basis, providing a solid foundation upon which our family relationships are built. They form a welding link that ties our family together through a shared identity and purpose. During times of difficulty, these traditions keep our family close, knowing that there is something bigger than our individual selves that brings us together.
As we take the time to teach our children what they need to know to be successful in life, both through our words, and the traditions we espouse, we give them the tools needed to go forward independently when they leave our home. The time we take now to emphasize family values will pay great dividends in the future.
The family is the primary socializing force in society. Our society is only as strong as it's individual families. When we establish and practice high quality traditions in our homes, we allow our family members to experience peace and happiness.
Examples of traditions that build a solid foundation in the home
Express emotions productively
Have regular family meals
Resolve conflicts when they happen
Family Home Evening
Acknowledge the feelings of others
Pray at meal times
Get adequate rest
Put emphasis on learning
Give encouragement and support
Have regular recreation
Communicate with others
The current times we live in would have you to believe that it really doesn't matter, the dead, they cannot grieve. But God will swiftly answer that life will endless be, and you must live with choices throughout all eternity.
Traditions bring us close together when we are apart
The traditions we establish in our homes and families help bring us together when we have to be apart. Whether we are away for work, recreation, or to take care of extended family issues, checking in with each other on a regular basis keeps the fires of love and loyalty burning brightly.
Knowing that our loved ones are doing the same thing that we are doing brings us closer to them in intimate ways. We feel of their love and support, and have a shared bond of togetherness. We know that they would be with us if they could. We look forward to going home, embracing our loved ones, and being with them once again.
Establishing traditions when children are young binds the family together. Then, as family members grow up and leave home, they take a part of us with them. We remember our loved ones as we continue with our traditions after they are gone. We are able to ward off feelings of loneliness and despair, especially during holiday celebrations. The experiences we share in spite of time and distance keep our loved ones in our minds and hearts.
Do not forget your parents, your grandparents, your greats. They watch your every action, in heaven each one waits. They love you and they miss you, you knew them all before. They work each day for your return. Be conscious of them more. And each day as you live your life, keep close to God above. Provide a goodly heritage for those you really love.
Traditions give us a solid sense of identity
The traditions that we have in our family give our children a sense of who they are, where they come from, and where they are going. They give us ties that bind our family together in ways that cannot be achieved in society at large. When the time comes that they are ready to form their own families, they will be able to have a basis from which to build.
Whether our traditions come from our country of origin, our manner of dress and speaking, the way we celebrate our holidays and holy days, or simply the fact that we do certain things at certain times and places, our traditions will be a welding link between us and our children, binding us together in spiritual, physical, intellectual, and emotional ways that give peace and happiness, whether in our individual lives, or the future families of our children, and their children, and their children....
Establish high quality traditions in your family today, for your emotional health!
© 2013, Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved.This hub is an Emotional Survival Resource. For more information on emotional health and emotional survival, see www.denisewa.com.
* "Heritage" poem by Denise W. Anderson