“All of us as families create a family culture of some kind. The traditions we keep, the meals we make, the routines we practice, the values we espouse and hold, the movies that are our favorites, the church we attend, the generosity we practice, the way we invest time, the company we keep—all of these invest in crafting a family culture. We can also, inadvertently create a family culture negatively—a culture of anger, neglect, guilt, discord, disharmony, worldly values, and so on.” - Sally Clarkson
Last week, we vacationed in Yosemite National Park for one glorious week. Invited yearly by longtime family friends, we encroach upon a family tradition that has been going on annually for 80 years!
As forty of us share experiences in one of the most beautiful valleys in the world, not only do we get to see God’s masterpiece firsthand, but we make everlasting memories together. We feasted together daily along the Merced River and worked together on cooking and clean up teams to feed our hefty gang. We biked down from Glacier Point at 5 a.m. at 35 miles an hour to the thrill of adults old and young. We rambled up to the top of Vernal Falls at midnight to lay on the rocks beside the rushing water while singing hymns and watching the stars. The icy plunge began early, as we took the “Polar Bear Plunge” into the river at 8:00 a.m. We competed in a whiffle ball game (with Yosemite rules to beat) and laughed through a hula hoop tournament in the evening. Thursday night was the infamous Talent Show with acts to delight all. One night, we even went looking for bears and every wee one in the bunch swears they saw “a big black bear”.
None of these events are coordinated by the National Park. Nope! These are family traditions celebrated and relived year-to-year. These are the things the kids remember . . .travel miles to be at . . . and return to with all of the grandchildren in toe years to come.
All of your kids’ fond memories will boil down to family traditions someday. I know most of mine do. I look back over yearly family vacations, seasonal traditions, and family dinners. I pray our devotion times and family days will also be remembered by my kiddos. As Sally says, we all create a family culture of some kind. What kind are you establishing?
Family traditions are more than routines. They give feelings of joy to everyone included. They create a sense of warmth, unity and closeness. They make us “The Young Family” and bring about a sense of security and happiness in my children. They tie our hearts to theirs through laughter, conversation, love and memories. When our children return to our homes once they are grown, it is these memories they come home for.
What do you do if you don’t have any traditions? Friend, someone has to make them and it might as well be you. They are just little rituals you make up and do on a regular basis. Traditions can be anything from a fourth of July sparkler contest to a birthday affirmation dinner, Friday family pizza nights to Christmas Eve Shepherd night. There are no rules or “right” way to do it. The wonderful thing is it is all for you to decide and you to make happen!
What is your favorite family tradition?
What new tradition will you begin?