Today, I opened my RSS reader (still AOL, for the time being, lack of mobile is really going to kill that for me, I fear) and found an article about family traditions from The Art of Manliness. It goes over a bunch of things related to why family traditions are important.
There were a few things that my family did for years and years, and now seems to be falling by the wayside, which is wholly unfortunate. We used to get together in Virginia at my Aunt’s house in August, but this year, my mom and I were essentially the only out-of-towners that showed up. Similarly, Christmas at my grandparents used to be a grand affair with nearly 50 people in the house. Now, we’re lucky to get 10-12, and most people leave quickly.
Traditions are important because they foster the bond in your family. You’re driven by a sense of duty (at least, I am). The tradition in our family was indeed cyclical, probably without trying, as the milestone marks were major holidays. Christmas, Easter, August in Virginia, Thanksgiving. Rarely would you go 6 months without seeing everyone, and it was good for us, and good for the family. Unfortunately, it seems as though my grandparents aren’t interested in wrangling everyone together; I guess I can’t blame them. Each of my aunts and uncles have their reasons for not feeling a particular pull towards family, and my cousins, now that they’re old enough, seem to be bothered by the idea of traveling for family. That is a failure at the parent level (sorry, aunts and uncles). I have 13 cousins, all but about 4 are college age, and I only get the opportunity to speak to 2 of them with any regularity. Its not for lack of anything other than effort. I see my cousins at Orioles games, and I work at Camden Yards. Send me a text!
Anyhow, I hope to foster a family tradition cycle that will instill familial pride and longing for the activities that we do. I have to think long and hard about it. Traditions can be slogans, mottos, “Dad always says,” and general ideas. Dave Ramsey has a lot of flaws, most of them ego-based, but when he says things like “We’re Ramseys. Ramseys don’t borrow money,” that makes a very strong statement about who they are as a family. That’s powerful. My work ethic was forged by my mother, my desire to take care and provide for my family came from my dad’s inability to do so. We can trace these portions of ourselves back to the earliest phases of our lives. Constant reinforcement of values, which is as much a tradition as singing songs around a fire at Christmas.