Grandparents, September/October

Building Family Traditions

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Family traditions aren’t thought about until they are no longer there. They are underappreciated and, oftentimes, are things children are forced to do by their parents or grandparents. It isn’t until after the person who initiates the tradition is gone or no longer there that the tradition becomes that much more meaningful. As a grandparent, family traditions are very important. They have meaning, give them something to do together with the family, and keeps their memory alive, even if they pass away, as their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren continue on with the tradition.

The Importance of Family Traditions
Family traditions foster special bonds between family members. They can create positive memories and experiences that can give members of a family a strong sense of belonging and security. Family traditions are often very unique to each family. What they do may be something that many families do, but the origins of why they do it is special to each family. 

There is always a unique story behind every tradition that gives it just a little more meaning. For my family, when we have guests come from out of town, we play a couple games of Bingo together. This gives my family a chance to interact with friends and family and spend quality time together. This tradition started when my grandparents visited town when I was younger. My parents never really hung out together with their families often. Growing up, they had to quickly take on multiple jobs and other responsibilities that made it very hard to get quality family time together. So as my grandparents grew older and my siblings and I were growing up, I recall us looking for something to do together when my grandma suggested we play a couple games of Bingo. Playing Bingo quickly caught on, and every time I visit them with my fiancée, we always try to play together as a family. 

Why is this tradition so important to us? It allowed for my family to pass something down through the generations. My grandmother’s hard work and dedication to her family was honored, and it gave us something to do with the entire family. Grandparents understand that they are at a different time in their lives. If they are able to start and pass down a family tradition, it connects them and gives them some part of themselves that can hopefully be passed down even after they are gone. 

How to Pass Them On
It takes a lot of time and commitment to pull off. While the tradition itself can be fun and meaningful, it can also be very difficult to pull off based on the complexity of the tradition. There has to be someone with the intention of initiating the tradition present, at least at the start. They would have to get the ball rolling until eventually it becomes second nature for the entire family. You also don’t want something overly complex and expensive. That makes organizing and pulling it off more of a daunting and stressful task than something enjoyable and special. In order to create something that people are going to want to pass down from generation to generation, it has to be enjoyable. 

Find something simple, fun, and easily repeatable, and go from there. Start with things that the family already enjoys doing together. It doesn’t have to be something formal. It just has to be something meaningful to the whole family. A simple, “hey, this was a lot of fun, we should make this a family tradition,” is all it takes sometimes.

By Anthony Bui

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