Life Times Newsletter

Fall 2011
Vol. 13, No. 3




Creating family traditions

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Teresa L. Mareschal, MAT
Human Development Specialist


Every family has traditions of some form. What traditions does your
family have? Traditions and rituals are important because they help families pass on their values, attitudes and goals to future generations. All traditions and rituals have three common elements.

1. Traditions are repetitive. An activity must be repeated on a regular basis in order to be termed a tradition. It may be repeated daily, weekly, yearly or within some other time frame.

2. Traditions are significant. They must hold some meaning and value for the family members.

3. Traditions are coordinated. One person performing an
activity does not comprise a family tradition. At least two members, and often the entire family, must be involved in the activity together for it to be considered a tradition.

Traditions and rituals can be
classified into several different groups based on the purposes they serve. Here are some examples to consider when creating your own family traditions.

 Connection traditions promote a sense of family bonding. They can involve daily rituals and more infrequent activities. Some examples of connection traditions include family meals, bedtime activities, family outings and vacations.

∑ Love traditions help family members develop one-on-one intimacy with each other and also make individuals feel
special. They include date nights, birthdays, anniversaries, Fatherís Day, Motherís Day and Valentineís Day.

∑ Holiday traditions include
activities focused on religious and secular holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Hanukkah,
Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Yearís Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day.

∑ Community traditions link families to the communities in which they live and connect them to a larger social network than just the family. These
traditions include volunteering at a food bank or soup kitchen, attending a founderís day carnival or parade, and participating in fundraising activities that benefit a local community

No matter what traditions your family has, consider adding new
activities occasionally. They might become new traditions that your family will enjoy and treasure for years to come.






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University of Missouri Extension Editor: Roxanne T. Miller