Your guide to parenting in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts

Last year, I hosted a conversation about Creating Family Traditions. The conversation series is an extension of what Kidoinfo is all about, connecting parents with information and their community, allowing us time to share ideas with others in real life with hopes that the conversation does not end once the evening concludes but continues on with friends online, over coffee, during dinner.

GoLocal Prov Video Kidoinfo Conversation TraditionsThe word tradition comes from the Latin traditionem, which is the accusative case of traditio, which means "handing over, passing on.” So what makes a tradition and how do we as parents choose what to pass on and to preserve? What have we inherited, adapted, valued or created that is meaningful or relevant to our family?

Although I think about and celebrate traditions during every season, this time of year I reflect more on what, why and how we carry on our family traditions. As with previous conversation topics, Traditions came from my own quest for answers around how we raise our children and a curiosity of how other parents make their choices and find inspiration around this idea. Last year’s event was held at Craftland because this space supports, celebrates and inspires artists to create by selling their work and offering craft workshops for kids and adults. The tradition of making things is an important part of many cultures and holidays and showing our children how to make things and teaching them the value of something made by a person we know or identify with through their work makes for a more connected community.

Religion or birthplace may dictate some of the traditions we celebrate and pass on. But on our journey into adulthood we are often influenced by community and life experiences. Sharing households with other individuals and raising children provides opportunity for reflection, contemplation and decision about how we blend, preserve, change, value or create traditions.

When I think of traditions I am reminded of the musical and 1971 film, Fiddler on the Roof and Tevye singing about traditions in the song of the same name. The story centers on Tevye, father of five daughters living in Tsarist Russia in 1905. His life revolves around Jewish religious traditions he had followed and not questioned until outside influences encroach upon his family  life. Tevye must think about their meaning and value once his daughters come of age to marry and rebel against their Jewish faith and customs. Tevye must choose whether to enforce these traditions or how to adapt them to fit his family.

I was raised in a family from many cultures and religions so the religious aspect of holidays did not define the traditions in my home. Reflecting on what’s most memorable from my childhood, it usually involves collecting treasures that come out only at certain times of year, food, making things and gathering with friends and family. Since my husband is also from a many cultured background, it seems we have the freedom and responsibility to create our own family tradition plan. This freedom forces us to think of what’s important; deciding how to create new traditions and which ones we want to carry on. In our family some traditions have become meaningful by the simple conscious or unconscious act of repeating them such as telling our favorite parts of today every night before bed, taking a family foot picture while on vacation, going to the same orchard every year to pick apples, or making the same Breakfast Strata on Christmas morning.

To continue this conversation, I will share excerpts from the 2010 Traditions book. Enjoy these daily updates of favorite traditions from our panel and readers while I take some time off during the holidays. I hope you find these ideas as inspiring as I do.

Please share your favorite family traditions in the comments below.

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