Thursday, October 15, 2009

Treasuring God in Our Traditions (6) - Other everyday traditions

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?


Beate Teale said...

when our kids were young we spent time once a month remembering the 3 best things about that month for each of us. These were written into a book aand we gave thanks for the things the person on our right mentioned. I love looking back at that - taught us alot about what our kids liked and helped keep a thankful heart.

Sundays mornings and birthdays was time to enjoy a 'treat' cereal. Each person chose a cereal in turn, usually fruit loops - ugh.

Sarah Cooper said...

I love the book thinking we could incorporate that into our photo books which we make every three months!

If we've had a special day I often ask the kids what their favourite things were about the day as I tuck them into bed. I always expect the predictable answers after special days, but am continually caught off guard when they tell me things like 'pink milk' or 'running outside'!

We have special 'birthday breakfasts' - we simply add some sprinkles to our ordinary breakfast - usually toast or cereal and we light a candle for the birthday child to blow out...they expect it now even at 4 and 5 years old!

Nicole said...

I really love the book idea too.

We have birthday breakfasts too - and we did them when I was growing up. It's funny how the little things can mean a lot when they become family tradition!

And Sarah, asking the kids what their favourite thing is, is a lovely daily tradition. I might copy that one!

mattnbec said...

We have a few different ones which involve food/coffee!

On Friday afternoons, I make afternoon tea a more special treat - we might go and have afternoon tea at a cafe with friends, or get donuts, or eat chocolate. It's just a little way of expressing how good it is to have got to the end of the week weekend coming. It's kind of just for fun, really.

Another one is that we follow my husband's family tradition of making a nice breakfast/brunch on Saturdays or having a nice lunch just to enjoy the fact that on Saturdays, we're all together and life is more relaxed.

My husband and I are coffee-snobs. So every morning, one of us will make coffee for us both, and we'll spend a few minutes talking about the day to come and reading the Bible together. The kids have learnt (are learning?) to either sit still and be quiet or go into the other room. It's nothing in-depth, really, because there are interruptions. But it's a quick way to connect with each other and demonstrate to the kids that we value each other and the Word.

Finally, we have followed a little trick my Mum used - we only ever had egg sandwiches on holidays or when we were sick. It was a simple way that on those occasions, she could subtly say "I'm taking time to do something nice for you because you're sick/it's nice to have you around again". Even now, as an adult, I really like egg sandwiches because of it! My kids now call egg sandwiches 'holiday egg'.

We sometimes do the 'best/worst' idea over dinner too. We first saw it in the movie "The Story of Us" and liked it and started doing it too.

Nicole said...

Bec - thanks for sharing these - some a lot of the best traditions involve food don't they?