“I urge you to examine your life. Determine where you are and what you need to do to be the kind of person you want to be. Create inspiring, noble, and righteous goals that fire your imagination and create excitement in your heart. And then keep your eye on them. ‘If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,’ wrote Henry David Thoreau, ‘and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” (underline added).
Joseph B Wirthlin Ensign May 2007 pg 46
“Develop family traditions. Some of the great strengths of families can be
found in their own traditions, which may consist of many things: making
special occasions of the blessing of children, baptisms, ordinations to the
priesthood, birthdays, fishing trips, skits on Christmas Eve, family home
evening, and so forth. The traditions of each family are unique and are
provided in a large measure by the mother’s imprint.”
(President James E. Faust, Ensign, May 1983)
Your traditions are unique. Stop comparing yourself to someone else.
You are going to go into someone’s house for Halloween and their house is decked out. It looks so fun. When you come home you are not happy about your place. It is not competition. Stop comparing!!! We need to learn from each other. You take these people and you think ‘I like that one’. It’s like the Golden Corral of tradition ideas. You create your own menu.
I grew up in a family that had fabulous Christmas traditions and that was it. We had a lot of fun, but then coasted on through the rest of the year and married someone that didn’t have any traditions. Mothers have to imprint the traditions.
Some of you came from families that are steeped in traditions. Your mother is a Martha Stewart and you marry someone who came from a family like that too. Then the holidays can really be an adventure. We have conflict for all of the events. Your goal is to build your own family. You can take a little here and a little there and throw in some new stuff. It’s not wrong, but do it with energy. We have to create the traditions.
Traditions are the cement that bind your family to your family. Family mission statements, cheers, flags…all of these are family traditions. They are the things that say “I’m a Tanner.” “I’m a Smith.” When someone asks your children what’s it like to be a member of your family.
Example: What does your house smell like? What is the smell of your house. My daughter is so into Scentsy and it’s a different scent all the time. Some of you have pets. Your house smells like that member of your family. That’s what you do in your family. My house when my children were growing up I baked bread every day to keep my sons in snacking material. I made 4 loaves of wheat bread and it was gone every day. My house smelled like bread.
What does your house sound like? My children would say it was ‘Elevator music’. I turned it on when I get up and turn it off when I go to bed. Now when I go in my children’s homes they have that stuff going on there.
Your house has a feeling. That is part of the tradition.
How do you leave and come back into your home? That is a tradition. How do you feel? How do your family members feel? How do you greet your kids when they come home from school? What about your spouse?
One of the things that I found as I was newly married was that the best traditions I found were from other Relief Society sisters. Most things I show you I use and change to fit my life. I’m still figuring out what to do and how to make it work. It is still an adventure. I have 36 grandkids. How do I make each of them feel special? We have to figure out how. We are not intimidated by each other. No one can feel guilty about it.
What is a tradition? Something you do repetitively.
- Meet & Greet---Are you as excited to see your family members as your pet dog is?
- Weekly FHE
- Scripture reading
- Family Prayer
- Family Mission Statement
- How you each dinner at night or what you do with the dinner hour. The dinner hour is the most powerful part of the day.
- Your job charts--Daily jobs as long as they are regular become a tradition
How do traditions get made?
Planned with purpose
What you do with family in their spare time….is your family computer linked? The thing we did as a family is play games together at the table. Rook, Phase 10, Uno. The thing my boys would do is quote Disney films. Who could quote what film and guess which show it was. Play basketball together. Play volleyball together. These are the traditions of what we do with spare time in our family.
Bedtime---what you do at bedtime. Some of you use your ‘tuck in time’ as your ‘talk in time’. They are waiting for their talk turn. That can be a tradition that is very important.
Mike made the hallways 4 feet wide. When we moved in and our youngest was just born and oldest was 12. I told Mike that we need wide halls because they boys can’t walk past each other without smacking each other. It didn’t work. J That’s the boys way of saying they love each other.
My halls have every size picture and frame. It’s my ‘Hall of Fame’. As my kids walk down that hall they always stopped and look at those pictures and saw themselves as part of the family. These were the snapshots that you take. Make sure you have all of them. When people came to visit they always stopped and looked at the pictures and just made my kids feel good about themselves.
On the other side of the wall I had all their baby pictures. They were in matching frames. Mom why do you have the baby pictures of there still? I love being your mother and I loved my babies. I was grateful they were part of the family. I changed them out and put their graduation pictures in and then their marriage pictures. It was there as a constant reminder of the differences.
Class member: If you are having problems with scriptures we do ‘scripture snacks’. They get something that I don’t typically buy. They don’t let us miss scriptures.
In the beginning these treats are really good things. Be sure it doesn’t turn into a bribe and get bigger and bigger.
Class member: For bedtime each one gets to pick a book and we all pile on the floor and mom & dad lay on the floor. One gets on one back one on the other and it one in the middle. Lots of contact.
Class member: My husband is getting his MBA and working. My husband will help me make the lunches for the next day. He will do a funny face or write something on their sandwich bag. My 9 year old is struggling with a friend. I wrote... ‘Try to make up with your friend’ on her sandwich bag. They get to see their Dad get involved in it.
More DAILY Traditions examples HERE..
My sister has 4 boys one year as they got out of school she bought whip cream cans and when they got home she put them out in the back yard and they had a whip cream fight and then they just hosed them down. The next year all those boys wanted to bring a friend. It was a bigger whip cream fight. They now have it at the park and all the mother’s bring whip cream. They do it every year.
Another thing you need to do…you need to have a family that plays together. What do you do to play together. We hunt and go backpacking. We climb Mt. Borah every summer. It’s something we talked about, planned about together. I went into country that I didn’t want to go to, but I did it with our family. One of my sons jobs was just to get mother up the mountain. The others relayed water and packs up and down the mountain.
It doesn’t matter what you do, but you need to do something as a family…water skiing, boating, play sports together, biking. You have to do something together as a family. You also need to do something to work together as well.
For us my husband ran a mini construction business. Our boys and girls from the time they were out of elementary school they worked on the subdivision and poured cement. I live out by Table rock by the cross. They were doing a subdivision out of Black cat. They called and said Mom can you bring us a drink.
Class member: I love that you said that. We were married and then sealed later. We celebrate our anniversary and then we have our ‘family’ anniversary that we were sealed. It was a lot of work. The next year we cleaned up garbage on a walk by the waterfall. We have done a work project/service project for our family anniversary now. So many traditions can be fluff.
With that being said don’t be afraid of service or work. When it’s done they feel so good about themselves. Some of you may have big gardens, putting it in, maintaining, and canning. You need to work together in big projects and you need to play hard together.
Eagle Projects… “Soar with Eagles” picture, patch, and badge. Grandson wants his picture on the wall. Their pictures will go up around the big frame.
“Party at Grandma’s”. I hang it on the rod for the sliding glass door. Where is the party sign? It creates feelings.
Card file---months of the year. Behind each month you have a card that has numbers on it for each day of the month. On any given year on the 16th day of March—write one sentence. Someone got their first tooth, went on first date. Someday you have some memories to go off of. Mom tell me about when I was little.
Class member: Our blogs and Facebook things serve that same purpose.
Print them out. You need a hard copy. Kids need to read through them. It needs to be accessible to them. Keep it somewhere. Don’t be burdened by it. It’s a memory clip. It’s not a book. When you have time to go back it jogs your memory.
Photo calendars…when boys went on missions. It was a great Christmas present to send to them. We do it and every member of the family gets one. It keeps them in contact with each other.
Mary Poppins Bag….travel bag. You pick out signs….”Mountain Home, Burley, Snowville”…a certain number of miles. When they see the exit sign they get something from the Mary Poppins bag. Lemon drops and see who could keep them in their mouths the longest. Little tablets with dot to dots…share the pages. It buys cooperation on a trip. They love it! It’s a great behavior modifier.
Examples of WEEKLY traditions HERE...
Examples of MONTHLY traditions HERE...
Example of YEARLY traditions HERE (includes holiday traditions)...
- Table runner
- Chair cover…with pocket on the outside. Every child would have to write a love note to the birthday child.
- Say something kind about the person giving the gift.
Principle: Your family needs to have fun
Practices: Everything else.
Soapbox: Children birthday parties create a sense of greed and entitlement. It’s because I want presents. It starts to develop that kind of feeling. On certain birthdays they had friend parties.
- They picked out garbage cereal for breakfast.
- Family activity---bowling, swimming, whatever
- Chair back
To me Christmas is my favorite and Birthdays are 2nd. It pulls them out of competition and make them king or queen for the day.
Important to create love and bonding in the family. More than just school valentine’s boxes. They outgrown that and it becomes a nothing. The family needs to do something together to create feelings of love.
We drew names and they did ‘Secret Pals’ for the week before. The FHE before they had poster supplies…markers, stickers, posters.
When they went away to college, He was at BYU and he got his little sister. He took a picture of him with his books open all over…”I can’t focus on anything but dreaming of you valentine.”
Stella Swampwater….picture my husband had when he went on his mission. They would ask who his girlfriend was…pulled out a crazy pictures. Stella went on 7 missions with her boys. After they are back and Stella is part of our family reunions. Stella is the prize for whoever had the most ridiculous thing over the year. When you earn Stella she has to be on display for 2 years in your home. She comes to the reunion and hopefully gets a new home.
Service Project for Christmas---Something really hard!
We did Christmas for a family. We picked a family and one that wasn’t in our ward and hopefully one they didn’t know. Each person picked one of the children and they had to earn the money themselves and buy their person…something to wear, something to eat, and something to do. We delivered these things on Christmas. One year they dressed up daughter and husband and Mr & Mrs Claus to deliver gifts.
One year by son was a teen. He had a teenage boy for his person. I want to buy him some Sivlertab jeans. I want to get him a Boise High sweatshirt to go with it. Do you know how much that is? He saved and saved and saved. He bought them. This boy went to seminary with him. Everyday the rest of the year that boy wore those jeans to school. He washed them every night. It was a powerful lesson for my son.
One year we bought a trampoline. It was cold and snowing. We parked down the street and put up this trampoline in the middle of the road. Dropping the springs and laughing and shushing each other. We got around the edges and picked it up and carried it down the street. We set it right in front of the front door and put bags of presents on top of it. It was fabulous! Wonderful experience.
We drew names and the kids had to make their gifts. You have to put in more time and thought and efforts to make them. Then they had to write a letter to the person whose name they had. On Christmas Eve we turned on the lights and sat around the tree and read their letter. Those were amazing experiences. They expressed how much they loved each other. These letters are still just treasures to me.
Mr. Peeps…elf that sits on the shelf.
Class member: They have “Elf on the Shelf” you can buy the book and elf.
It doesn’t matter what traditions you have. It’s important that you have them. These are the happy moments the twinkly times. These are the things that make your family fun.
Halloween…make Halloween pillowcases to put on. They use the pillow case as their trick-or-treat bag. They come in and dump out their stuff. They get a sandwich bag to keep. The rest goes back in the pillow case and on the front porch. During the night the Halloween witch comes and trades the candy for a good book.