Un-traditional

10 May

I read that family traditions instill into your children your family values, strengthen family identity, connect generations, build great memories and make us stop in the bustle of the busy day to remember the important things in life.

We are not a family with traditions.

If someone asks me what our traditional “insert celebration here” looks like, I would be at a loss for words. Of course we celebrate the christian festivals for their christian meaning, and like typical kids growing up in a christian family, our children know the meaning of Christmas and Easter, details and all. But mention the word ‘tradition’ and my hair stands up in this fashion:

The reason I look like  a cat being electrocuted when I think of christian family traditions is probably because, while we do not have them, I have felt the peer pressure of having a craft ready for every occasion and an appropriate way to display it (the possibilities are endless). I have felt the fear that my kids are missing out, the fear that their creativity is not explored, their knowledge not expanded, their spiritual horizons narrowed. I panicked, I accused, I banned, ridiculed and begged (#how christians react to their insecurities)

I go through such a range of emotions because I allowed other mums (through their window shopping display) to dictate the standard of what my family should look like. The danger in comparing yourself to others is that there will always be someone ‘being more’ or ‘being less’. The comparison trap either leads to pride or despair. Personally, if I’m going to compare our “christianness” according to the activities other families do (be it crafts, songs, meals, dances or treasure hunts), then I can not measure up. Not only do I not have the creative energy for it, but I also lack the inclination for it – I couldn’t be bothered to be bothered.

So why do I have sweaty palms just thinking about December and April? The truth is that, if I’m being led by my emotions (and particularly fear), then my motives are wrong. I do not want to do anything out of fear, but rather out of conviction. If I am convicted that my kids are going to be worse off without the baking of the resurrection cookies, then I must do it. If I am convicted that receiving gifts for Christmas will take them further away from knowing Jesus, I must take the presents away.

So I calmed down.

Under the regular and rightful reminder of my husband that we resist peer pressure and submit to God’s Word only, and with the reassurance from older friends with godly grown up kids, I slowly realize that we are the family that we are, not carefully planning out the craft for Christmas, but being intentional in loving the Lord just as faithfully. Isn’t that enough?

We don’t do crafts together for Easter and we don’t bake together for Christmas. But together, among other things and in different ways, we love Jesus, we serve Him, we talk to Him and about Him. Together we fail Him and apologize to Him. And if these are the only precious memories that my kids will treasure one day, I will consider it a priceless blessing.

We are un-traditional and I make peace with it.

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8 Responses to “Un-traditional”

  1. petalcaren May 15, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Thank you Ingrid for being honest and once again giving food for thought. I am sure we all struggle with insecurities around this issue and it is great to think through where we stand individually. I think one issue here is freedom. Jesus has set us free and we are free indeed. I think we need to see ourselves as set free either to do crafty ,arty things with our kids or either to not. Either to have traditions or not to have them. These things are deeply personal and should never be the measure by which we measure ourselves or as a way to measure others. I suspect we all suffer from the” I should be doing more” or “I am doing better then that ” illness and both are wrong. I hope that as we travel along the road of parenthood and as we grow in godliness and in the Lord we might truly begin to see ourselves and see each other as set free. So enjoy doing your crafty thing and enjoy not doing it!! Thank you Lord that we are all different and all accepted by God NOT based on our efforts. 🙂

  2. Clan Queen May 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Inks, I love you and your ‘tradition-less’ ways 😉

  3. Taryn May 10, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    Nicole, I think is spot on – 🙂 As you pointed out so well Ingrid, the Internet, blogs, social media etc has upped the pressure to do crafts / make ‘traditions’ especially around special days. but not everyone is wired like that. Many families have traditions that are not as overt or intentional but have just as much significance in the child and family’s life. You guys have plenty of traditions, including reading the bible with daddy most mornings etc. Just because they don’t involve a craft, or have evolved naturally, or haven’t been blogged (!) doesn’t make them less so. Anything that is repeated within the family that holds significance is by definition a tradition. And honestly, I’d rather have heart-felt ‘incidental’ traditions than ‘heartless’ intentional traditions, despite being a sucker for intentional types.

    • Ingrid May 10, 2012 at 9:58 am #

      I would say that heartfelt incidental traditions are as good as heartfelt intentional traditions. The heart is always the matter, isn’t it! My observation – make it ‘struggle’ – is that judging by the number of books and blogs inciting and promoting their intentional traditions, they often seem to imply that incidental moments aren’t as effective to ‘see the list at the beginning of my post’. It tends to leave me feeling sad, doubtful and in fear – feelings that I want to fight in the light of what God expects of families.
      🙂

      • Taryn May 10, 2012 at 10:44 am #

        Amen to heartfelt no matter what! Which is why many traditions will evolve too – i can’t imagine us doing resurrection cookies / wordless book crafts when the kids are older without it becoming less heart and more about keeping a tradition! Lol! I have visions of teenage Hayes kids begrudgingly going thru the motions of a childish project for the sake of tradition! Hee hee! Amen to seeking to keep Him #1 and asking Him to keep us from comparing. Of course it helps to quit reading the blogs 😉 and on that note, I need to quit reading and writing now because here I am breaking my own school time rules that I made to keep myself focused and better serving my family and God! Hmmm spot the irony!!

  4. nicoledecooker May 10, 2012 at 8:54 am #

    I think that by being un-traditional you still have your traditions. They don’t have to always be a conscious decision “Now this is going to be our tradition children!” Sometimes they happen naturally and perhaps that is the best. 🙂

    • Ingrid May 10, 2012 at 8:58 am #

      Traditions tend to be something that reoccur every year/month/week in the same way for the same purpose. I think that you’re right, we tend to be more ‘spontaneous’ in what we do (which is probably what suits us best, and I love that) but I don’t think it falls in the realm of ‘traditions’. 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Letter from a mother… « Our Nest Au Naturel - May 14, 2012

    […] my post on  (un)traditions, a friend of mine greeted me and jokingly asked if I was going to celebrate Mother’s Day in […]

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