Why do family traditions matter?
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Welcome to the Intentional Family Moment. Take a moment with us as we discuss our thoughts on your family questions, then join us in our weekly challenge as we work together to be more intentional in our families.
This is episode 4, hosted by married Coriaria founders Brent and Michelle. This episode is brought to you by Coriara – Choose family. Learn more at Coriaria.com.
Today’s question is: Why do family traditions matter?
I think traditions are something you can count on where you will spend time with, interact with, and bond with your family. It’s important to know why you are doing a family tradition so that you are intentional about it. Otherwise you can fall into a rut of doing a family tradition because society tells you to, there are items to buy, things to set out, or decorations to use. If you are doing a family tradition for a reason and you know why – your family loves to sing, or bake, or do different things – that’s when it matters. You are doing it together for a reason.
Many times, the reason is because it’s fun and you enjoy it. Doing a tradition because you choose to do it and how it is important to you are important. It helps traditions carry intentionality. When couples get started when they are first married, establishing those traditions and that culture is a lot of fun: Getting to explain and learn about the traditions and experiences that each partner in a marriage has and brings to the table. Those are some of the fun parts of getting to know someone and getting to build a new family are the family traditions you get to create together.
Building on those traditions that you bring together in ways that you feel really matter to your new family, the personalities that come together, and to mold those traditions into ways that are going to benefit this new family.
Something that I like that you’ve brought to our family is celebrating a Scandinavian holiday called Saint Lucia’s day. There are elaborate pieces of that tradition that you’ve shared that we have been able to incorporate into our family traditions around Christmas time.
As far as why family traditions matter – they are one of the subtle but significant things that glue together family cultures and the way that you feel about your family. They incorporate not only things like holidays and how you observe them – maybe religious observances are part of that – but also things like inside jokes, or what you do when you try to decide what movies you are going to watch, what things you’re going to reach for. There’s a whole variety of things that weave together to create what you consider family traditions. They matter because they are the things that define the identity of your family. They define what sets you apart from other families in very positive and good ways. Being intentional with how we create those family traditions so that they have other effects in our family go a long way to making them matter even more than they would otherwise. Most people are going to establish family traditions out of habit. It’s something that we just do as people. But, when we take a step back to think about and to intentionally create family traditions that are designed to matter more for our family, to be more significant or to create a stronger family culture, then we are able to take a step even further with the power that family traditions can have.
To be able to assess the traditions that you grew up with and to put those up against the family culture that you want to establish. Like you said, the traditions are not necessarily a yearly thing. They can be as simple as “What do you do when people come home from work?” It becomes something between tradition and family culture. Assess them and be intentional with them so that you can build your family culture in ways that you want to build that bond with your family. Take into account the different personalities that your family is made up of and incorporate them all.
As far as challenges for this particular episode, what challenges came to mind that you want to share?
People can make up a new family tradition that is based on their personality and family, to make something that is their own. What did you have in mind?
I think that sounds great. Make a list of your top three family traditions. Take one of them and make some changes and improvements to it. Look at them and look at what would be new and unique that is not something we are already doing. That might be prescriptive, because family traditions often grow organically. But, as you take the time to explore then and look for ways to improve them, you will have insights in how you can improvise on top of them and create something new on top of them. You can create something that is based on what you already do, but that is just a little bit better or a little bit different.
Based on the original question of “Why do family traditions matter?” the challenge is to make your family traditions matter. Make them intentional.
Thank you for joining us! Now go home and change the world by being more intentional with your family.
Challenge: Make your family traditions matter
For ideas on making your family traditions matter, check out this blog post.
If you have a question you would like us to discuss in a future episode, submit them here.