In my last post I looked at chapter 5, where Noel Piper wrote about the necessity of daily prayer and Bible reading as part of the fabric of our everyday traditions.
In chapter 6, Noel Piper moves on to the kind of everyday-type traditions that are are good but not necessities. They are the type of traditions that celebrate the good gifts God has given us and create a unique family culture.
Again, this chapter included examples from the Piper family, that I found helpful in examining our own family traditions with fresh eyes. I liked reading about the reasoning that lay behind many of their family traditions. Many of them are similar to ours, many of them aren't, but it got me thinking again about the philosophy undergirding all the little details of the average day in the Starling family. It helps to think about questions like 'why do we do it this way?' and 'what does this communicate to our kids?'.
One thing I thought about as I read this chapter was that in many of these everyday traditions, what we are doing is showing our kids how to receive God's good gifts with thanksgiving. But with so many good gifts that God has given us, we can only ever pass on a representative sample. One family might have a culture which majors on sport, another on reading, another on music or art or making stuff. And that's OK! Part of the joy of fostering your own family culture is showing your kids how to take pleasure in the ways your family is different.
But there's also a danger here isn't there? There's the danger of squeezing kids into an inflexible mould of their parents' preferences and quirks and oddities. In thinking about how we implement everyday traditions in our families, I think we also need to think about how we'll teach our kids to appreciate the difference of others.
Here are some everyday things our family does:
- reading books before bed
- each taking turns to choose which cd to listen to as they go to sleep
- Pizza Saturday
- dessert night (and visitors-special-dessert nights)
- joke time
- Saturday sport
What about you? What do you do and why?