The Power of Traditions

Every year during the first week or so of September, my social media feeds are filled with “first day of school” photos marking the beginning of another school year. I always enjoy seeing the smiling faces of my friend’s children and marvel at how much they’ve grown each year.  This certainly has become a popular tradition for many families…ours included!


Since Kindergarten, I’ve been taking a front step photo of my two children, Caitlin and Jon. Over the years, they grew to know this was part of what we did on the first day of school. In the teen years, I admit there were a few groans and eyerolls when they saw me with my iPhone, lol.  Nevertheless, they “humoured Mom” and posed so we could capture this milestone of starting another school year.


Now we are well into the university years, and our tradition continues! This year, I was at work, so I thought I’d take the photo when I got home. Caitlin and Jon had other plans – they took their own photos before I got home. What a way to make Mom’s day!


In reflection, this experience is an excellent example of the power of family traditions. In the familiarity and rhythm of these regular patterns, we connect with each other and share our history and values across the generations. As parents, we may wonder if our children see the significance of what we do as a family. We may ask such questions as: Do they value these experiences? Does this really matter?


Based on our family’s experience, I say YES! Our children certainly do! While it may not be evident in the moment, our children are inspired and impacted by the traditions we share with them. Over the years, I often shared with Caitlin and Jon why our first day of school tradition mattered. Their actions this year showed me that it is very likely they too will share this tradition with their own children someday.


So how do our family traditions fit into faith formation? When we connect and share traditions with our children, we can also look for God’s presence in these experiences. When we recognize that God is with us in all we do, these are also opportunities to live out our faith.


Think about your family’s traditions – the things you do each day, each season, each year. How did they start? Why do you value them? How do you share them with your children and or grandchildren? How have these experiences shaped your faith?


May your family embrace God’s presence in your traditions as you grow in faith together!

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