We all have our traditions. Be it how we spend the holidays, when we open presents for birthdays and Christmas, we even have traditions about how we make decisions. Traditions in and of themselves are not bad or good, they simply are traditions. They are usually evolved from something, someone, or some event and have continued through a period of time and generations of people. The challenge comes when you alter, break or forget traditions that mean a great deal to someone else.
When we are in turmoil, under stress or anxious we usually go back to what we know. That safe place where we know how it works, where we know how things happen, which can mean we return to our traditions. During times of war many countries found themselves returning to the safety and structure of their national traditions. Things that were once thought provincial or out of date brought security and hope back into the mental landscapes of the people. Dinner times and family meals, values and conversations changed as everyone looked to the past to bring stability back if only for a while.
The great thing about our modern times is that we can invent our own traditions. We can make new ones and update the old ones…as long as everyone involved can handle that change. Heaven forbid Aunt Bessie ‘s cake recipe not taste the same or be sliced the same or served in the same dish. However helping the kids learn how to make Aunt Bessie’s cake AND tell stories about her and why everyone loves that cake keeps the tradition alive and fresh. It keeps Aunt Bessie with us and helps the next generation understand why the cake is the way it is. When we lose our traditions it can feel like we are losing a part of ourselves.
What traditions do you have? Were you there when they started or have you inherited them from days gone by? Maybe this is a great time to begin some new traditions – Sunday dinners, movie night, game night, naps, or even calling your Mother. Remember in times of strife traditions help ground us, in times of change they give us a starting point for moving forward, and when real pain arrives they give us a solid foundation on which to stand.