Yesterday, I got to go and visit my *Auntie* Kerrie who works at a local op shop. It was lovely to see her and show Zippi to her. While I was there, I was able to buy these gorgeous little pumpkin bowls which I think will be perfect for pumpkin soup.
And I was so excited to get them home.
Because I think traditions are such an important part of the fabric of family life.
We've worked a fair bit with the kids from our community who would be considered to be quite troubled. I bet you've seen kids like this in your area too (if you live in Australia that is). They walk around the streets up here until late at night and are usually in a group. They love to congregate around the shops together. They have a special kind of dance that only they really know. Around here, they wear Canterbury branded pants, shirts, the boys wear baseball caps and often drape a jumper over one of their shoulders. See a pattern yet?
They like to:
* HANG OUT IN A GROUP
* BE TOGETHER
* SPECIAL THINGS ONLY THEY SHARE* HAVE CLOTHING THAT UNIFIES THEM
And so what? you might ask.
Well, I really believe that most of these kids (not all but some) really lacked getting an identity in their homes and so they have found it in this gang-style life. Being in this group gives them a sense of belonging; a 'uniform', customs and traditions (be they favourite dance moves/songs etc that they share), even an accent or unique words to some degree.
While this might sound ok, its really not. We have worked with these kids and most of them are deeply troubled.
I believe that ALL kids need to feel like they belong to their family. I want our kids to feel like our family would just not be the same without them in it. I want them to know how special and treasured they are by us because that will show them how special and treasured are to the Lord. I want our children to look back on their childhood and know that they shared memories with their siblings and parents that they will keep locked in their hearts forever. I imagine them doing what I do when I get together with my sisters; recalling lots of special times and things only we shared. You can often hear us saying, 'do you remember when we watched/went to/holidayed at/visited with/etc etc etc' and then there is often laughter heard after that! I imagine our kids doing the same thing.
What do the pumpkin bowls have to do with all this? Well I believe that setting up family traditions has a great deal to do with a family's identity. And the best part is that its never to early or late to start setting up new traditions! They can be creative, fun, beautiful , spiritual and joyful occassions. That's one reason we enjoy celebrating the Biblical Feasts. Brett and I also love talking together about new ways we can help knit our family closer together through traditions. For instance, one of our family's traditions that has been going on here for several years is that every birthday when we sing happy birthday before cutting the cake, the kids all play their harmonicas. Another tradition is to have a family movie night with all of us bunked down in the lounge room and usually a little sweet treat for us all :)
And now, when we have *safe* butternut punpkin and leek soup, these little bowls will come out. Every time. When I was telling my sister about these and why I wanted to have these as a new tradition, she said, 'Oh my goodness, do you remember those Sesame Street placemats we had? We loved those. And the Mickey Mouse fork? Whatever happened to that?' Of course, it wasn't about the material things we were fondly thinking of, it was all about the memories. The happy times we shared around our family dinner table; chatting, sharing and loving each other.
The kids saw the bowls being washed up and were very excitedly asking, 'Are we going to use them? Are we going to have pumpkin soup in them?!'
I so cannot wait till we next have pumpkin soup.
Traditions help us form our family identity and I know that if they don't get it in my family, they will look elsewhere for it as they grow. It's never too late to start. So I'd love to know if there are any special traditions you've introduced into your family.