Tradition is not the word that came to me the first time I started thinking of setting my kids on a certain path. I only knew then that I wanted my kids to have a ‘this is who I am” mentality. I have started reading some parental books that are talking of values and I ask myself, “what have I taught my kids as our way of life?”
For instance,I scold my kids when they have done something I know is wrong and tell them, “you don’t do things like that”. When I am alone and recollecting my thoughts, I ask myself, “have I ever taught them right and wrong? have I ever sat them down and explained the things I expect from them? Will they be able to talk with their children and say, This is what my mother taught me?”
Most times, parents assume the kids should have known better. But how will they know if they have not been taught? Tradition is taught, passed down in words, thoughts and action. It should be a trademark, a certain pattern that the family is known for. It is only when children know what is expected of them that they can walk away from trouble and external influences because they know that this is not what I should be doing. Peer pressure and societal influence will rear its head but a firm family tradition/value will at a point come to the rescue. Family tradition will strengthen the bond between parents and siblings and even when they have become independent, they will always have their ties firmly in place. True family traditions are always made stronger during holidays and celebrations. Christmas is family time. A lot of times these days, people hardly celebrate Christmas on their own. The advent of recreation centers, fast food joints have started taking away precious family-alone time. People want to be on the move as opposed to staying together and basking in the moment of love and laughter. I will want my kids to remember a particular thing that we always do on Christmas apart from eating food and visiting friends and receiving visitors.
Recently, my kids initiated that I read them stories in the night. The few times we did, it was such a precious moment. The few minutes of reading to them was a blessing to both of us and that would have been the perfect time to start instilling certain traditions in them. Off and on, they excitedly ask for a story and I come up with the (I am busy now, maybe tomorrow) excuse.
Now, more than ever, I am making up my mind to teach my children a tradition. First, I will write out core things I want them to know. Find ways to apply it in our everyday living and conversation. Make family times memorable. Be true to ourselves as we will stumble now and then but never give up.
A motivating factor in children’s lives is the desire to become the kind of people they believe their parents want. This requires that you communicate clearly the values and personal characteristics you believe are most important. This might include honesty, concern and care for other, respect for seniors, reliability, tolerance of those different from oneself, initiative, love of nature, environmental sensitivity and a sense of patriotism. Of course it is most important for you to model those values and “walk the talk”. Children can spot hypocrisy in a heartbeat. “R. Reasoner and M.lane in Parentinh with Purpose”.
Parenting is hard work and like every work, we can make up our minds and decide how successful we want to be.