Help your family develop fun and interesting traditions
This time of year is all about traditions. Your family probably has a plethora. Some you love. Some you find irritating. Some you don’t understand why you do them. In the midst of all the traditions, you have to keep up with your normal, mundane life – school, work, practice, homework, time with friends, etc.
Commonly our traditions, which should be fun, invigorating, inviting and fresh, become habits or a frustrating “to do list” that our parents make us accomplish. Our busyness keeps us from enjoying the tradition, making them more of a hassle than an exciting event. We then blame our parents for making us do things we don’t have time to do, blame our teachers for making us do things that we don’t want to do, or blame ourselves for not being able to keep up with it all. No one is to blame. Instead, of letting this time of year build frustration, take ownership of your family traditions.
We often follow our family traditions because it’s what we’ve always done. But, as a teenager, it’s time for you to develop rich traditions and deep understanding for your own benefit. So, own your family traditions and make them personal. If you don’t feel comfortable with certain traditions, ask your family to make adjustments so you can enjoy them all. Create your own traditions that have meaning and purpose to you. Develop new ideas as a family. Evaluate old and new and respect the emotions and feelings of other people regarding past rituals and practices that are important to your family, parents or heritage.
If you don’t like a certain tradition, don’t be afraid to share your feelings with your family. Tell them why you don’t like it and then, provide an alternate. Perhaps there’s a reason your family practices certain traditions, now is the time for you to learn about the significance of those traditions. If you don’t understand the tradition, why it’s important or relevant, then ask your parents and listen to the reason. If there isn’t a good reason, then perhaps it’s time to try something new or eliminate it all together. If you’re intrigued by the reason, then hold on to that insight and let it bring new enthusiasm to the ritual.
Before you can evaluate or create a tradition, you must know the point or purpose of a tradition. During the Christmas season, traditions are rooted in many ideas: to bring people together, to be considerate of others, to recollect old folklore, to honor one’s heritage and upbringing, to celebrate the Birth of our Savior, to remember and recall Christ and who He made us to be by reflecting on our history.
If a family activity has become a habit over the years and doesn’t claim a traditional root, then ask family members if it’s still important. If your family likes the tradition, then add another element to the ritual to make it hold more significance. If you’ve never understood a tradition, perhaps the ritual needs to embody discussing the importance and relevance of the practice.
By beginning the conversation, your traditions will become more important and significant. Plus, you’ll be providing an opportunity for your family to grow closer together. Your parents, siblings and even distant relatives will value the chance to strengthen their relationship with one another as well as their relationship with the Lord. Don’t be scared to step in and take charge of traditions this year. You need to benefit from them just as much as everyone else.