As I’ve been preparing for our Fathers’ Day celebration, I’ve been reflecting on the importance of family traditions. I have always innately appreciated family traditions. To be honest, my own family wasn’t huge on recurring traditions, largely because we moved around a lot and adjusting our traditions to meet our situation and needs each year. But we did have traditions, even if they changed in shape and form, and I valued those traditions heavily. I loved our faith traditions, our holiday traditions, and our family celebration traditions (birthdays, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, etc.). Even now, thinking about our traditions and different family experiences brings a warm, fuzzy feeling to my heart. Traditions were more than just another thing to do; they were an irreplaceable part of our family life – something we thought of together and did because they fit our family, helped us learn and always meant quality family time.
In my personal opinion, the more a tradition is specific to your family, the more meaningful it will be. Lots of traditions have become universal (Santa Claus, stockings, the Easter Bunny, Valentines Day cards, etc.). These traditions have lost a lot of their meaning – they are universal representations which might still symbolize something of value, but they have lost the personal and authentic touch. They’re too easy to come by, too commercialized, too meaningless. You can “do” them without investing time, teamwork or personal experience.
But family traditions and symbols that can’t just be bought at the store, found on the Hallmark card, or seen on a gazillion commercials carry with them a deep message of love that is personal for your family. Even if it’s a gloppy cake, or handmade decorations with visible flaws. It doesn’t matter. It’s your tradition, your memories, your experiences. An intimate family reality, not something you share with the world at large. This doesn’t mean getting rid of wonderful traditions just because everyone else has them too – it means always adding a personal touch that makes it special for your family.
One of the reasons why I really love family celebrations (like Fathers’ Day!) is because there are very few stereotyped and “expected” traditions, so the sky’s the limit with what you can come up with that your family will enjoy!
Here’s a quick peek into what we’ve come up with for Fathers’ Day this year: homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast, a Middle East – American cookout combo (that would be Middle Eastern kabobs, American chips) with free play for the tots (outdoor pool, “construction zone” which is basically playing with dirt and toy tractors), and then a special dinner prepared for my husband for after the kids are in bed.
To sum up here are three reasons that summarize why I think they’re so important for families to establish:
- Family traditions unite your family around important moments, and get everyone actively involved.
- Family traditions help shape your family’s identity.
- Family traditions teach your kids the values that are important to you in a fun and creative way.
Happy Fathers’ Day, everyone, and enjoy your traditions!