Family traditions. Every family has them. Whether you have one or one hundred, some sort of “tradition” has seemed to wiggle its way into every family I know. Your traditions may be in the form of homeschooling, celebrating birthdays, going to church, military service, cooking, singing, camping, or a plethora of other things. Regardless of what they are, traditions are something that we all grow up experiencing.
According to Wikipedia, family tradition is defined as: an aggregate of attitudes, ideas and ideals, and environment, which a person inherits from his/her parents and ancestors.
I must confess that it was quite difficult for my husband and me to establish our “own” family traditions once we moved away from our home state of Washington to New York. Up until then, we had relied heavily on both of our extended families and the traditions they passed down over the years as our own. However, my husband joining the Army changed all of that.
Christmas Eve 2003 was one of the saddest days I had experienced in a long time. It was my first Christmas away from my family in 26 years, and I literally did not know what to do. It hit me hard. And it was at that moment my husband and I realized just how important family traditions are. So we began to establish our own.
To us, homeschooling and creating family traditions go hand-in-hand. The idea of creating our own family traditions became very exciting. Immediately we created an abundant list of traditions that we wanted to start and prayerfully began to implement each one. The first was cooking something special twice a week as a family. This was a huge hit with our oldest child, who at the time was 2, and quickly became a keeper. Aside from creating these new and fun family activities, we knew that we were building a foundation that would get us through some difficult times ahead during several long deployments.
It was not until our very first deployment that I actually understood the significance of tradition helping keep our family unity. In June of 2004, we said goodbye to daddy as he left for his first year-long combat tour to Iraq. Shortly after this departure came the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and before we knew it, Christmas and into the new year. And because we had already made some new creative ways for our family to celebrate these holidays, the consistency and familiarity brought both my daughter and me a comfort in knowing daddy was still a part of what we were doing, even when far away.
Family traditions have carried us well into the middle of our 5th year-long deployment that we are in the midst of right now. Three children later the traditions are stronger than ever and have given each child a sense of security and identity in this ever changing military homeschooling lifestyle.
The best family tradition we have started, by far, is homeschooling our children. If my husband and I had not been pulled so far away from everything we knew, we both agree that the birth of homeschooling in our hearts would have been a lot more difficult to conceive. And for this, we are forever grateful.
What are your favorite family traditions? Have you had to create any of your own? I would love to hear some of your most beloved traditions. Please leave a comment below and share them with me.
Carlie currently resides in Germany courtesy of the US Army. She has been a blessed, stay-at-home, homeschoolin’ mama since 2001, to her 3 precious gifts she calls “children.” She is a proud Army wife and has been married to the love of her life, Michael, since June 2000. In her free time she enjoys anything to do with Jesus, family, photography, reading, writing, singing, teaching, and being outdoors. You can find out more about her family homeschooling adventures and Christian faith at her blog: So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?