A few months ago I read the Book 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, by Stephen Covey. I won't do a review of all the habits here; only one that I found to be worth noting on right now, and that is the need for families to establish traditions.
We all think of traditions as what we do on Christmas Eve, or an annual summer picnic, but I liked what Covey said about making the seemingly mundane a tradition. Some families have a family game night, or a movie night. The author wrote that for some families, a weekly trip to a bagel shop, or making a special meal is a great tradition.
My college roommate had a family in the double-digits, and their lives amazed me. They all got to Mass at 6:30am every morning and the whole family sat down for an actual breakfast afterward before dad went to work. This same family had a Friday night tradition of ordering pizza and watching old black and white films, and a Saturday tradition of date night for mom and dad. I wish I could be a fly on the wall in their home now as a mother instead of as a naive college student.
We are still working on traditions in our male-dominated domain. Our boys are just getting to the ages that they are able to remember birthdays and holidays of previous years, and are able to expect a routine. We are trying to establish their memories rooted in the traditions we are creating with the hopes of being a strong and effective family :-) .
One of our mundane, but special, traditions are our Saturday mornings. We call them "lazy Saturdays." Instead of rushing to get dressed, fed, and on to our day, we take it slow. Mark and I take the coffee carafe in to the living room and visit with each other while the kids sit and listen or play cars at our feet. It's so small, yet, we've come to expect that on most Saturdays, before 10am is sacred time for our family. It's the first time in the busy week that we are all able to sit together and not be thinking about washing dinner dishes, giving evening baths, or preparing for the next day's work.
And while the above tradition is special to us, as I thought about other traditions we have, like book reading, family prayer, Mass and brunch on Sundays, having music in the background of our days, and making the effort to include our family for learning experiences, while they aren't huge and elaborate, Covey says that they make a huge impact on thriving families. That is my hope. (*EDITED TO ADD: the first sentence of this paragraph has 63 words in it. I usually blog early in the morning. Have I mentioned I'm a morning person and have the IQ of lawn furniture after 8pm? Forgive me, it's late.)
I am curious to hear about the small, but special traditions that other families keep. Going out to lunch? Family bike rides? Campfires? Cooking together? I love all of it, and hope that we can all find Grace in the day-to-day.