Family traditions are vital Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, May. 09, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

As we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day on May 12, I’ve been thinking of the mothers in my family and how they continue to impact us.

One of the ways we remember our mothers is through the family traditions they carried on or started. For example, my mother-in-law, Ruth, had a number of favorite recipes which we still use today. Her recipes for pasta salad, lasagna, and dill dip are still popular in our family. One of our granddaughters often asks us to make dill dip, which she enjoys eating with potato chips.

Holidays were always important to our families. We still follow many of the traditions for Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, such as reading The Night Before Christmas, sharing Easter baskets, and putting our candy and decorations in our home for Halloween.

Importance of family traditions

It turns out that today, traditions are actually considered vital for a happy family life. “Traditions are behaviors and actions that you engage in again and again — regular rituals that you perform at the same time and/or in the same way,” say Brett and Kate McKay in an article on the website

“Traditions can be big or small, but they differ from routines and habits in that they are done with a specific purpose in mind and require thought and intentionality.”

So family traditions don’t just happen. It takes some planning and work to make them happen.

The authors say that traditions offer numerous benefits to families. Some include:

• Providing a source of identity. Traditions and rituals often tell a story about a family, including where they came from and their cultural or religious history.

• Strengthening the family bond. Researchers have found that families that engage in frequent traditions report stonger connection and unity then those that haven’t established rituals.

• Offering comfort and security. Family traditions are an antidote to the harried feeling that comes from our fast-paced and every-changing world.

• Teaching values. One of the main purpose of rituals is to impart and reinforce values. This can happen through family prayer, reading bedtime stories, and family dinners.

Creating new traditions

Besides carrying on family traditions, families can also create new traditions. You can build on the traditions of the past while creating your own unique rituals.

These new traditions can be done daily, weekly, or at different times to celebrate life changes or milestones. The latter could include taking yearly first day of school pictures (which my daughter-in-law does) or dedicating a new home (which my husband and I did when we bought our condominium six years ago).

Perhaps you can start a new tradition on Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!