A Season Or Tradition?
by Dannah Gresh
I can almost taste the pumpkin pie I’m about to eat this month. And I can hear the kids begging me to make “just one more batch” of Christmas Wreath Cookies in December. It’s that season when traditions are practiced, and research tells us that they are vital to having a healthy family. One study points to the fact that families who have “traditions” tend to be less likely to have teens engaging in high risk behaviors such as violence, substance abuse and unhealthy relationships.
That makes me want to have traditions that last all year long! In fact, traditions don’t have to be about a season. They just have to be about doing things again and again! Like painting your nails with your daughter every Saturday night or making wings with your son for Monday Night Football. Why not start a tradition that lasts all year long right now! Get your calendar out. Now, is the time to start. Go get your planner now!
1.) Select a date to begin your formal connection effort. Write it in pen and don’t let anything get in the way. My husband is really good at this. He’s often been at board meetings that were running late on a Thursday night. He faithfully excuses himself and simply says, “I have an appointment with my son every Thursday at this time.” Some of the workaholics don’t get it, but most of his colleagues admire him for his commitment. My best intentions to connect with my children mean nothing if I don’t follow through. I don’t know about you, but without a deadline the fun stuff gets pushed to the side.
2.) In the next few days or weeks leading up to that date, determine what your connecting tradition is going to be. You don’t have to know this now. Take time in the next few days to study your child and think about their hobbies and interests. Take cues from them as you head into your tradition. Hit the local pottery studio if your child likes art. Watch Monday night football if your son loves football. (It has been a great sacrifice for me to break my “no football” lifestyle in order to connect to my son, but I’m actually learning how the game works and even reading Rick Reilly’s column in Sports Illustrated!) Make a mini-spa if your daughter loves manicures. Just do something you can do again and again and again. Make it “yours.” My daughter loves fruit smoothies, so my mom bought a smoothie blender. Each time Lexi comes over, they get that thing out and whip up a new flavor. It’s their special connection.
3.) Enjoy the process and give yourself room. As you embark on this, don’t get so caught up in doing it “every night” or “every week.” I find that when parents go overboard and make it daily or weekly, they end up getting discouraged because it becomes overwhelming. Just schedule the next special time of connecting when you’ve finished one. If it’s two weeks, so be it. If it’s a month, that’s OK, too. Give yourself room, but be jealous about that time with your kids.
And I have to add one more little detail. Be prepared for the side effects of connecting. As for my husband, since he connects with my son for wings every Thursday, we have a little ritualistic tradition of our own every Friday morning. Bob moans as he pulls himself out of bed onto the La-Z-Boy in our room. He sits there rocking and holding his belly, glancing my way looking for sympathy. I usually relent and ask as if I don’t know, “What’s wrong, honey?” “Heartburn!” What a surprise
Dannah Gresh has sold over half a million copies of her books–including And the Bride Wore White and Lies Young Women Believe (co-authored with Nancy Leigh DeMoss), making her one of the most successful Christian authors targeting teens and tweens. Here newest line-up of Secret Keeper Girl products is for tweens and creates ways for moms and daughters to connect. You can learn more at www.secretkeepergirl.com.