Children love traditions. If you disagree, just try telling your 10-year-old you will no longer be going to Santa’s Tree Farm for your Christmas tree. Traditions create a sense of family identity; a security, and a feeling of unity.
My husband and I are now down to our last of three kids at home, having successfully launched the oldest two out into the real world. Recently, when our middle son was home for a visit, we were reminiscing about some of our family traditions, including going to see our local pro sports team play several times each year, ordering pizza every Sunday night, and…going to Santa’s Tree Farm every year to cut down our own Christmas tree.
Well, it turns out, our daughter wasn’t a part of any of that. She let us know in no uncertain terms that all of those traditions had been discontinued when she came along! You see, there is a 5 year age gap between our 2nd and third child. This revelation came as a surprise to us…we had no idea that she had missed out on so many of our long-standing traditions nor that we had been slacking off in that department (the family tradition department) since she had been born.
As the conversation went on, we quickly scrambled to come up with some traditions that were currently a part of our family’s life. We stammered and stumbled, finally coming up with, “We go to Aunt Debbie’s for the 4th of July!…sometimes…” And, “We eat at Lampu Japanese Steakhouse after church…occasionally…” That wasn’t cutting it with our daughter, however.
That little exchange made us realize several things:
- Family traditions are important, even to teenagers.
- As the years go on we all need to reevaluate the quality and consistency of our parenting…especially where family traditions are concerned.
- We are getting old. But we still need to keep the fun and excitement going for that last little bird…before its their turn to leave the nest!
After that conversation (which my middle son enjoyed way too much as he teased his sister about all the fun she had missed!) my husband and I talked and came up with a plan to implement some new family traditions that would be especially enjoyable to our teenage daughter. And, at our daughter’s request, we’re visiting Lampu Japanese Steakhouse more frequently now.
If you haven’t done so, establish some fun family traditions and keep them going over the years…even until that last little one leaves home. Trust me, your kids will talk about those fun, recurring activities for years to come, reminiscing, as siblings do, over the unique and memorable times you shared together as a family.