Monday, May 28, 2012



There is a good deal of truth to Tevya's line from Fiddler on the Roof that "...because of our traditions, we've kept our balance for many, many years..."
Tradition (noun - whose origin is traced to Middle English 1350-1400) means:
 "the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or practice....
Tradition has been shown to provide a comfort and stability to family life and is essential for our kids' development.  Their particular rites create a sense of identity, unity, warmth and security. While we often think of traditions as religious practices and rites of passage, traditions are found in all aspects of our religious and/or secular lives.

Social scientist, Ernest W. Burgess, Professor of Sociology at The University of Chicago has studied family traditions and noted that:
"Whatever its biological inheritance from its parents and other ancestors, the child receives also from the a heritage of attitudes, sentiments, and ideals with what may be termed the family tradition, or family culture."
So let's talk traditions - traditions worth pursuing/continuing, and others worth tweaking:
  • Family Dinners-
    • provide opportunities and vehicles for families to learn to communicate effectively - sharing personal events and issues faced that day, sharing relevant current events, bouncing and brainstorming ideas off of each other;
    • discussing each family member's day together at the table relays your interest in each one's lives - providing kids with healthier self-concepts and opportunities to comfortably share  ideas and opinions, and take risks;
    • provide opportunities to validate, clarify, and explain emotional events and behavior
    • provides opportunities to learn and model manners and practice consideration;
    • research shows that the more often families eat together, the less likely kids are to smoke, drink or do drugs, and the more likely they are to do well in school, delay in having sex, and exhibit healthier eating/food habits;
    • passing down family recipes is a way of passing down identity and heritage.
  • National holiday celebrations -  
    • sharing a Thanksgiving meal with friends and neighbors; or reenacting the Plymouth Rock dinner;
    • Fourth of July picnics - (in our family we also have an annual screening of 1776 where we watch and sing along - corny, I know, but true and loads of fun);
    • watching or participating in holiday parades.
  • Family Holiday and Birthday celebrations
  • Religious celebrations
  • Annual family vacations - and/or family game nights planning, traveling and playing together on an annual or regular basis - not at home teaches and models brainstorming, calculated 'risk' taking, and allows the family to collect very special memories of unity, belonging and just plain fun
  • Religious holidays - aside from unifying the family by attending church or temple and praying together, religious holiday celebration also helps extend your kids' sense of community
  • Rites of passage family rituals -
    • to help wean my kids off bottles and diapers, we had 'bye-bye baby bottle and diaper' parties.  When I felt my kids were ready to wean, we would talk about having a party.  It helped make that transition easier and much less anxiety producing.  We also had a lot of fun planning and brain-storming. And best of all, it became their decision.
    •  First School rituals - making a ritual of visiting the new school, having a party the night before the first day, buying notebooks or pencils and pens and other school supplies;
    • Communion/ Bar and Bat Mitzvas
    • Sweet Fifteens and Sweet Sixteens
    • Weddings
    • Graduations
On the other hand, there are some traditions, that do not and maybe should not necessarily be passed down:

    All jokes aside, each of our family (and cultural) traditions help add a sense of family, community, trust, stability and unity.  What are some of your family/community traditions?  Please share them in your comments.


      1. Wonderful post and i think so appropriate for Memorial Day ~ we need traditions ~ for stability and balance to deal with societal chaos ~ I find my sanctuary is my home within and without ~ thanks, namaste, ^_^

      2. I love your blog! a fun source for this home school mom. Tradition: as a practicing Catholic who loves her faith ~ Tradition Rocks! ~ unless. . . bulls are chasing you. LOL!!

      3. My sense of tradition is a bit splintered, because of various phases of my life. But I figured you go with Fiddler, and I APPROVE>

        ROG, ABC Wednesday team

      4. Hi There,
        I'm stopping in from the Tuesday Train. I'd love a visit back :)
        Tiffany Taylor

      5. I was applauding each point you made, as I look back at least 3 generations to family traditions. Unlike Hank Williams who sings "Why do I drink...why do I roll smoke.....It's a family tradition". Our family has strong ties to family dinner discussions, family vacations, being there when some one was sick, downhearted, scared....I fall to my knees and thank God for our Family and our Traditions...I only pray they will continue with our grandchildren.

        Thank you for a wonderful post.

      6. Traditions are very important for kids like me.

        Tug of War

        1. Great post Meryl! Traditions are important, they are the concrete between bricks of society. I love that music of "The Fiddler on the Roof". Thank you!

      7. We do get together for holidays, birthdays, and we just celebrated my son's First Communion and had a party. However, sitting down to dinner is a rare occasion due to our schedules, but we do eat together on the weekends. Does family movie night count?

      8. Traditions can be very important to families and cultures. Sometimes it is good too when traditions change as there can be negative ones too. Great T day post. Carver, ABC Wed-Team

      9. Its wonderful to create these family traditions. We have followed and handed down many of these to our children and grandchildren. Love this T word.

      10. My friend,
        Traditions are a big part of our lives, but the tradition with the BULL is not for me (LOL). Thanks for sharing.

      11. great post. many of our traditions have gone by the side of the road since both sons moved to different states & my mom & grandma passed. I miss them & the traditions.

      12. New Follower! Looking forward to reading more on your blog!
        Hope you will follow back.
        Daisy @

      13. We always have a pj party on Christmas Eve to open up packages. I set up a HUGE hunt with clues in Easter eggs. We sit down at the table as a family to eat. Every once in a blue moon we watch TV in the living room. That's just for something special.

      14. I love your T word and thoughts about tradition. When I was a child, on hot summer nights, we would walk to the other end of town where we would enjoy ice cream cones (strawberry for me, vanilla for Mom, maple walnut for my Dad and sister). One more - during thunderstorms, we would sit as a family on our closed-in porch, and count the seconds between the lightening and the thunder. Both warm memories for me. Thank you for bringing them back.

      15. I also think traditions are important. They are a big part of creating memories in our family. I am always excited to hear of others traditions because I am always looking to expand ours. Great post!

      16. Love your blog!
        Found you on the blog hop.
        Care to follow back?

      17. Great Post!Newest follower via blog hop! Glad I found you! Please follow back!?

      18. What a beautiful post. Traditions should be passed on and i also agree that there are some that shouldn't be passed on.

      19. I guess I'm starting the new tradition of blogging on Wednesdays for ABC WED♫♪ Nice post.

      20. Great post and informative..

        Visiting for WW- hope you can stop by:)

      21. Hi There,

        I am back again--to read your posts. Your content is great and right up my alley.

        Please follow me back. You left a comment that you were uncertain about how to do so.

        (Move your cursor to the top right margin of my blog, four icons will pop out. Find the icon with 3 heads and that is where my Followers are located.)

        Thank you in advance for trying again. In the meantime I know where to find a well written and informative post.