Friday, July 25, 2014

Family Traditions

One of the things that I haven't blogged about much is how we are preparing our family for bad times mentally and emotionally. Today, I'll talk about traditions and why they are important.

I found a good article on why you should have family traditions. See the full article here.

In summary, family traditions:
1.) Provide opportunities to share happy memories.
2.) Give family members a greater sense of belonging.
3.) Help impart family values to the children.
4.) Provide children with a foundation and with security as they develop their identities.

In my opinion, traditions are great! I love having traditions that I can pass on to my children. My parents used to sing us to sleep when we were kids. I sing my children to sleep. It's incredibly fulfilling to be able to say that. BUT I find that it is important to keep from getting "stuck" in traditions.

We need to be open to change and development of our traditions. You can keep from getting stuck with your family traditions by changing it up. Say every Saturday is Pancake day. Mom makes the pancakes, and she always does fun shapes. But what happens when mom is sick? Or what about when you are on a family vacation? What if one of your family members realizes they are allergic to gluten, or they decide to join a religious group where it becomes against their religion to eat pancakes?

I know that that last one sounds like a bit of a stretch but it is important to be aware of, and sensitive to each members needs, regardless of how silly you may find them. That is why our traditions need to be open to development and change. If our traditions are unbending, our family members will be unbending, too. In life it is important to be flexible and learn to roll with the punches.

Our family is no different from any other family in that we all need traditions. Here are some of my favorites.

-Every Saturday is PANCAKE DAY! I like to make fun shapes and every time, I get better and better at it! The kids help mix and they all get to test the first one to see if it's okay. (I'm going to post more on this later!)

-Every night we read books, and then we sing songs until the kids are asleep. Sometimes I sing songs that I remember my mom and dad singing to me. Sometimes I sing songs that Chris' parents sang to him. Sometimes I sing songs that I've made up for my kids, or other songs that I like. This is how this tradition is growing!

-We go on trips to visit with extended family. We want to foster relationships with our extended family because it is yet another foundation stone to figuring out identity. If anything should happen to me or my husband, I want my children to feel safe with their extended family. I want them to know about me, so they can learn about themselves!

-We go on family vacations. While this can be the same trip as visiting with extended family, it is not the same. When we go on "vacations" we experience the world and culture around us. We see monuments, learn about history, and enjoy our civilization at large.

We may have just started a fishing tradition too. There is a little lake just down the road from us and yesterday, we decided to go fishing. It was so easy to get things together for it, we brought binoculars, and the kids and I looked at nature. I think that we will do it again. On a regular basis. And that it's how traditions are started!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Path Not Taken

As I sit here and wonder about why I'm feeling down (cause sometimes I do), I am reminded of a poem by Robert Frost that has always held great meaning in my life; The Path Not Taken.

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood,
And looked down one as far as I could,
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other just as fair
Having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear.
Though as for that, the passing there
Had really worn them about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh! I saved the first for another day.
Yet knowing how way leads on to way, 
I doubted that I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh,
Somewhere ages and ages hence.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by.
And that has made all the difference."

I can see how my choices in life have brought me here. I do not regret the paths I've taken. In fact, most days I am quite happy with living on property that we own with my beautiful family. We have a lot of love and a lot of blessings and I don't want to sound ungrateful.


oh! How slow the progress goes! And oh! I don't like how things always seem to go wrong! Sometimes I feel like the movement is backwards.

I just have to keep reminding myself that "I shall be telling this with a sigh/somewhere ages and ages hence/two roads diverged in a wood, and I--/I took the road less traveled by/and that has made all the difference!"