As I was putting away some linens this week, I came across a hand made quilt that my mother-in-law had made for our youngest daughter when she was born eighteen years ago. As I brushed my hand over the colorful squares, I admired the way she pieced each patchwork section together with stitches that were delicate yet not always uniform, and thought about how this quilt would be enjoyed by little ones for years to come.
Just as the thread binds each of these squares together, the special things we look forward to as a family, the everyday routines we abide by, and the activities we are involved in are the threads of life that bind us together as a family. A strong family is committed to one another and grows stronger because of the time they spend together. The way we do things becomes our family traditions from the celebration of holidays, birthdays and anniversaries to vacations, game night, or bed time.
Families that have the strongest ties have the most rituals or traditions in their lives. Traditions help family members feel good about themselves and each other and give them a sense of belonging and continuity which connects them to their past and keeps them looking toward the future.
Researchers from the University of Wyoming share reasons to celebrate family life. By understanding these reasons, we realize the importance of rituals and traditions in daily life and can strive to pass along to our children a legacy of valuing family time.
1. Taking time to communicate in our everyday rituals helps family members understand one another’s needs, goals and challenges in life and allows them to care for each other and problem solve together.
2. Traditions and rituals help provide a time to forgive and heal from a loss or disappointment in life. Spending time talking about the good times and telling stories can foster feelings of cooperation and bring reconciliation to a troubled family.
3. Traditions help affirm family values, faith and life experiences, providing security and a firm foundation on which children can build. No matter what religion or set of beliefs you hold, traditions can and should be part of the family.
4. Traditions help link generations together, helping children learn about the past and their cultural identity. They’re helpful in reconnecting family members who may feel disconnected from their nuclear families due to a move, retirement, family separation or divorce.
During this holiday season, take time to reflect on your family’s traditions and rituals and how they make your family unique and provide continuity and a sense of belonging. It’s never too late to start new traditions or add to those you already have. The daily things that you do as well as special celebrations, these threads of life, are really memories in the making that will, like my daughter’s quilt, provide love, warmth, and security for future generations to come.
Our counselors at Pickett’s Mill wish you peace during the holidays and a healthy and Happy New Year.