Family Traditions

(from the archives)
Ah, the smell of Christmas in the air. The aroma of cinnamon, sugar, and sweet golden cookies baking in the oven tantalizes the senses in our house this time of year. One of our Christmas tradition is baking cookies just as my husband’s grandmothers both did years ago. We even use many of the same recipes handed down for generations.

Some family traditions are fun, like baking yummy cookies or cutting your own Christmas tree. Others are a little different, like my in-laws baking ketchup into their macaroni and cheese. While still others are dangerous, or at best unhealthy, like anger issues, addiction, substance abuse and divorce.

Sometimes we can pass along or create traditions that we’re not even aware of. One year when our daughter was little, she became upset after we put out the nativity scene. To her it was on the wrong table. She didn’t want the position changed because to her its placement was a family tradition.

Unlike the physical traits we pass along to our kids, we can choose which traditions to carry on. We can even start fresh and create new ones. Unlike Hank Williams Jr., there are traditions from past generations in my family that I don’t want to continue. But to do so I need to make a conscious decision to take steps to circumvent them, keeping a watchful eye to take action should they arise. Just because they are part of my history, doesn’t mean they have to be part of my legacy.

Most families, if we’re honest, have a few unhealthy traditions. They may be obvious like: substance abuse, addiction or divorce or they may be more subtle like: prejudice, selfishness, money mismanagement, or irresponsibility. While we aren’t forced to carry on traditions, we do need to give thought to the one’s we’ve inherited so that we don’t inadvertently pass along undesired ones. Are there behaviors, temperaments and attitudes from past generations that you are unwittingly handing down to your children?

Now is a good time to reflect on just what family traditions you are passing along. Are they ones that reflect your values and create a stronger, healthier family? If not, there is never a better time to make a change than today.

While you are considering, please pass the milk. I need to pour a big glass to go along with my delicious sugar cookie.

Message for the Journey:
Family traditions provide us with a sense of identity, comfort and history. They can bring pleasure, but they can also bring pain if they are unhealthy ones. Just because something is part of our history does not mean it must be part of our legacy. May the traditions we pass down only be ones that glorify the Father.


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1 comment:

  1. Great topic. I agree with you. I still hold many traditions from my upbringing. We always had very 50's style Christmases growing up. My husband is very traditional but our tastes in music is different, we had to compromise. One thing that wasn't a part of my childhood Christmases was reading the bible on Christmas Eve. We started doing that even before our daughter was born. Hopefully, as a young woman she will do make scripture a part of her Christmas Eve, recognizing what Christmas really means. I've never had ketchup in my mac & cheese. I do like ketchup. Hmmm. :)