Traditions are activities or practices that are enjoyed and repeated over time with some regularity. Simple family practices as eating special foods at holiday times, enjoying a yearly vacation or attending special celebrations together such as reunions, birthdays, weddings, graduations or decorating graves on Memorial day, etc. can build family unity and identity.
When I was a young girl I remember visiting my grandparents often. My grandmother liked to put together puzzles with me. We would sit together for hours in her quiet home working together, talking a little and just building our relationship. Now I can do that with my grandchildren (IF I can get them unplugged.) I remember making tarts with another grandma. Cooking or baking together is almost a lost art during these days of fast foods. Making homemade bread was a necessity in those good old days, nowadays it’s a rare occurrence. It was fun to make cookies together or other treats to enjoy during our visits. Eating meals together was a celebration.
Being an empty nest parent of four sons, I was delighted to have my grown son and his family visit recently during their spring break. My computer savvy son offered to cook a special meal for my husband’s birthday (his stepfather.) What fun to work by my son’s side as grownups as he taught me how to fix real Italian spaghetti. Though we aren’t Italian, his wife has that ancestry. When in-laws join a family, they can bring in new traditions that can be incorporated. Ethnic dishes can be discovered and new traditions enjoyed together.
Families constantly expand and change as new members are added through birth, marriage and/or adoption. Differences can be celebrated and added to the mix of a constantly expanding group of individuals called family. Each person has some unique quality or personality to add to a group bonded by love and shared experiences. Forming new traditions or practices to celebrate together will build unity and understanding. Just the simplicity of sharing holidays by taking turns which family hosts a special meal or time together can be enjoyable.A family is a working lab of relationships as each person interacts, whether it’s a childless couple or a larger group of related individuals. Conflict is inevitable, but solvable if the commitment to communication exists. Learning to not take disagreements personally is a great help in building unity and continuing traditions.