family traditions

 

And the survey says...
By Carl Caton

Recently, while preparing to develop this webpage, I wanted to enlist the help of some experts on family issues to assist in creating ideas for family traditions. Actually, I enlisted twenty-four experts... my daughter's fourth grade class. I asked them to define the term "family tradition". Although I had already developed my own 'thoughtful response', I'm ashamed to say their definition was actually better!

Seriously, there was no limit to ideas for family traditions... we simply ran out of time. But I was captivated by the subtle themes that ran through almost every family tradition mentioned.

My first surprise was the concept that the various traditions that the kids described with great delight were actually just ordinary, run-of-the-mill activities. One young lady reflected on how fun it was for the whole family to go to the movies during the holidays. Confused, I asked why it was so fun, given kids go to the movies all the time. The mere fact that it was an activity that they did every year made it special. James Dobson talks about letting your kids enjoy "a time of anticipation" before giving them a special gift. I think this applies to family traditions. When the holidays approach, your kids will be anticipating the many fun activities that they always do during the holidays. Anticipation adds a little extra spice and makes an ordinary family outing extraordinary!

A second theme that ran though the list of family traditions was 'being with family'. Many of the boys talked about fishing and hunting. But when I quizzed them about specifics on 'what made it really fun', they went on to say that it was especially fun to be with ole' Dad. Wow, that tugs the heart strings. But it brings up an important point. Kids spell love t-i-m-e. It's foolish to believe that 'quality' time is enough. Kids want quality AND quantity. The truth is that kids love to spend time with their parents. I'm reminded of a great prayer I recently heard, "Lord, help me to be half the man that my kids think I am." How true. Your kids think (for now) that you are the greatest person on earth. No wonder they like spending every possible moment with you.

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family traditions