I love creating. I love to take something in my hands and make it into something useful, or beautiful, or giftable. Since we have been made in the image of the most amazing Creator, it seems only natural that we too, are wired to create.
I come from a family of creators. Not creators of anything tangible, but creators of memories or, as we call it, traditions. These traditions haven’t been passed down culturally or through the generations, but they are our own, home-grown, family-made traditions. They might be a holiday celebration, a joint family vacation, or a night of board games.
My dad is the biggest Tradition-Meister of them all. Whatever wires us to love creating memories, it runs strongly in him. Some of my most vivid memories from childhood revolved around Wednesday nights with my dad and brother. Every Wednesday, my mom went to choir practice and dad was in charge. In the warm months we played touch football in the front yard and went to the local convenience store where we were allowed to choose one snack of our choice. In the cold months dad would make homemade popcorn or milkshakes and play board games with us until mom came home. Of all the years and activities of my childhood, these are my most vivid memories. Maybe they were traditions or maybe they were just routines, but we loved it and the memories that were created on those Wednesday nights have stayed with me long after the memories of childhood holidays and birthdays are gone.
I’ve found that the desire for family traditions is inherent in my own children. If we do something once, it often translates to TRADITION in their minds. Visit the ice cream parlor once on the last day of school – it’s a tradition. A favorite holiday movie at Christmas must be watched together–it’s a tradition.
I believe God is also a lover of traditions.
Many of the commands in the Old Testament revolve around celebrations and remembering. In the book of Exodus during the time when the Israelites were being delivered from the hands of Pharaoh in Egypt, God commands His people that the Passover “…is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD—a lasting ordinance.” (12:14, NIV)
In the book of Esther, after the people of Israel were saved from the evil schemes of Haman, they are commanded, “these days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.” (9:28 NIV) We carry on traditions to keep the memories of the past alive.
Creating these memories may seem like the most natural thing in the world, but in reality, they rarely happen without some sort of intentionality on our (or our children’s) part. The time it takes to organize and maintain a family tradition varies with the elaborateness of the plan, but the memories created are well worth the extra effort on our part.
I have a friend who homeschooled, and on the first day of school when all the kids in the neighborhood donned their new duds and hopped on the school bus, she and her homeschooling friends planned a scavenger hunt all over the city with their children. It was a lot of fun and, in this age of camera phones–free, since a quick pic of what you find can be your proof! It was a special day, and it made the end of summer and the start of school something to be looked forward to.
As our children grow and mature, traditions will evolve and change, but the memories of those special times, whether it is ice cream on the last day of school or a football game on the lawn, will live on.
Are there traditions that you share with your family?
How do you intentionally create memories with your children?
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