Spending time together
The older they get, the more our children have obligations. They have friends to see, places to go and by force of circumstances, they have less and less time for us, their good old parents, who are sometimes short of arguments to bring them home. That is why it is good to establish traditions.
Perhaps you already have traditions?
Many Italians, for example, eat with their parents every Sunday. Christmas Eve, birthdays, egg hunts and Sunday roasts are all valuable traditions that give landmarks to your family and stories to tell.
If you don’t have any, if you have lost them because you moved or if your parents are not there anymore, you can always create your own. Wednesday night’s movies and popcorn, making Christmas cards with the kids in December, syrup pancakes on Saturday morning, the special birthday song, the annual pilgrimage at a music festival… any excuse will do to send time with your family, away from the computers, the hum drum and duties.
To establish traditions worthy of the name, your ancestors had to impose them somehow, either by applying them at an early age, like their parents did before them, of by involving children at an appropriate time. Regardless of the means, the traditions of the past were never very democratic and it is this sense of obligation that gave them the sacred feel that made them almost impossible to avoid.
Of course, those of us who were forced to go, every Saturday, at their grand-parents’ house, to church or in the garden to help their father maintain the family home know that it was not always easy to sacrifice a weekend to do something that we would have never done otherwise. However, we also know that these moments have left a mark in our childhood through repetitiveness and frequency. Now that we are grown-ups and parents, they often represent the best memories of our childhood.
These traditions also gave us a lot by the presence of those persons who, week after week and year after year, were part of our lives and talked to us about their reality, gave us the chance to spend time with them even though we would have never spent time with them otherwise. Most people who were “forced” to follow some family traditions realize as they get older that the death of their grand-parents, contingencies and life changes that make them come to an end deprives them of privileged contacts with old acquaintances.
Family traditions are reliable. When children of all ages have something to say or an announcement to make, they know that at a particular time of week or year, they will have a chance to do so. It is a moment neatly defined in time and getting ready to tell their story is even easier as they know everything about that reassuring context.
Traditions also show that parents are constant, true to their word and they show that they will always be there for their children. Indeed, despite the sulking and protesting, children who must be convinced to participate can complain about their parents insisting too much but they will never say that their parents were not there for them. It is a special time that truly shows the importance of the family for each of its members and that strengthens the feeling of belonging to this tribe of ours that will help us no matter what.
In short, traditions make our family what it is, a united group, consisting of members that will always have something in common, these fond memories.