Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thanksgiving, Tradition & Family

Ivana Pejakovic, B.Sc., MA

Thanksgiving is a powerful holiday and one of the few that reminds us of what is really important in life (without the expected exchange of gifts or other favours). It is a holiday for gratitude, a time to be thankful for everything we have been given and more.

Thanksgiving is an occasion for family members to remember and to show how much they value each other. It is a time to renew family relationships and a time to let go of grudges. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to slow down, a time to model family values, a time to build family connections, and a time to give one of our most scarce resources to others, time.

Whether you have a big family or a small one you’ll agree that without family, the holidays would not to be the same. It is the closeness you experience with those who share the day with you and the memories you have that make the day special.

Families and Traditions

Holidays like Thanksgiving are perfect for teaching kids about cultural traditions. Many parents hope their children will pick up on these historical practices and pass them along to their kids. As such, it is what makes holidays a good time to learn about traditional recipes, customs, and a bit of history and literature.

People who share tradition often have stronger bonds. Tradition provides us with a reason to get together, it gives us activities to perform, and it gets us into a festive mindset. Traditions are fulfilling because they provide us with feelings of belongingness, an increased feeling of connection to our loved ones, and they evoke feelings of happiness.

Most adults have happy memories of the traditions their parents upheld during youth. As such, they can now help the new generation build similar memories.

Maintain tradition

1. Consistency: Practice tradition every year so kids can remember them and look forward to them. Be consistent with traditional recipes, decorations, or whatever works for you.

2. It’s not an obligation: If kids don’t want to participate in the tradition, don’t push them. Sometimes teens think traditions are stiff and outdated and they can’t imagine why people still keep them up. You go ahead and stick to your traditions anyways. As they grow and mature they will be more willing to participate.

3. Fun: Traditions should be fun. Even if you’re just cooking or baking play happy traditional music in the background and sing along. When traditions are fun, kids will want to participate and it will not feel like it is an obligation.

4. Family: Involve the entire family. Traditions are more fun if more people are involved. This will give you the opportunity for the bonding time you are looking for. So turn off the TV, put the cell phones away, and leave the video games in another room. This is connection time.

5. Positive Attitude: Always keep a positive attitude. Accidents will happen, time will be tight, things may get messy, but a positive attitude will keep the kids coming back. Put on your patience cap, roll up your sleeves, and enjoy the time with your kids.
Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving Weekend!

Ivana Pejakovic, Life Coach in Toronto

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