by Jodi Brook

Family rituals and traditions are important to the health and wellbeing of today’s busy families. They promote a sense of identity and a feeling of belonging. A ritual differs from ordinary routines by having emotional significance. Traditions are often cultural, ethnic, or faith-based and can be handed down from generation to generation, connecting us to the past.

Rituals are important because they allow us time to communicate, problem-solve, and balance our time together. They provide opportunities to affirm family values, faith and life experiences, and time to celebrate together.

Rituals and traditions can occur annually, monthly, weekly, daily, seasonally or randomly.

WHY ARE RITUALS IMPORTANT FOR HAPPY FAMILIES?

Traditions and rituals are the building blocks of strong, caring, happy families.

Traditions make us spend time together without the normal daily distractions because they are planned. Rituals and traditions make sure we do the things we really value, even when we are rushed and busy.

Traditions help us build a family identity by establishing how we communicate, how we make decisions and solve problems, as well as how we celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Easter, milestones and other family events.

Traditions make it possible to create a family history as they are passed on through the generations.

Traditions give us many reasons to celebrate life together. They make it easy because you know what to do and how to do it.

Traditions bring together generations, which can add such richness to our family life.

Traditions help us organise our busy lives. Planning rituals and traditions on specific days of the week or year means those projects will be achieved, such as organising family photos on New Year’s Day or sending a card on someone’s birthday.

LENT AND EASTER CAN BE GREAT TIMES TO START

We invite you to try these rituals and traditions during Lent and Easter.

  • Select a candle to serve as your ‘Christ Candle’, and gather an additional candle for each person in your household. Begin your home devotional times each week by saying ‘Jesus, you are the light of the world’. As you do, light the Christ Candle. Then have household members take turns lighting their candles from the Christ Candle. As each one does, say together: ‘You are a child of the light. Make your light shine before others.’
  • Daily silence to reflect on God’s presence in your life.
  • Times of fasting by eating simpler meals with water or skipping meals.
  • Limit the use of television, computer games and social media to focus more attention on God’s grace in your life.
  • End each day with a blessing: ‘May the Lord Jesus bring you peace when you are afraid; may the Lord your God protect you in time of trouble and give you a song of joy in your heart’ (Psalm 32:7).
  • Have meals together with others and offer a mealtime prayer.

Jodi Brook is director of Grow Ministries. For more articles about growing faith in families and across generations, visit the Grow Ministries blog at www.growministries.org.au/online-journal

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