Traditions Over Trinkets

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We want to give our children the world. I get it. We want them to have more, do more and be more. Sometimes, however, what we give them is a temporary high that can never fully satisfy. We buy them things that, in five years, they will never remember.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice to get things. I can’t pretend that the Firebird my parents bought me for my fifteenth birthday wasn’t absolutely amazing. What I can tell you, however, is that the car is long gone because that is what happens to things. They get old. They break or break down. {That Firebird totally did me wrong in the end, y’all.) They no longer hold your interest. You move on and seek new things.

When we give our children trinkets, we give them momentary pleasure. That is not always bad. Please hear me on that. What I am suggesting is that traditions trump trinkets. Traditions stay with a child through the years. Traditions provide lasting memories and a feeling of security. For children, security is huge. You may not view it as much but, to a child, knowing that X is going to happen consistently brings comfort.

Here are some traditions that take place in our home.

  1. Relax time. We began the practice of relax time in our home when our first daughter was a toddler. Eleven years and five kids later, it is still going strong. Every night – and I mean every.night. – we gather in the family room at 7:00 p.m. We all get our comfy spot and watch our favorite family friendly shows. We have made our way through every Andy Griffith episode, The Cosby Show, The Brady Bunch and a couple others. We are currently rewatching every season of Andy Griffith. The older my children get, the busier we seem to get. For now, however, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. is still all about family.
  2. Popcorn with stuff. Everyone knows that you can not watch a movie without popcorn. What you may not realize, however, is that you can not have popcorn without “stuff.” Long ago, I began surprising my children with random treats in their popcorn. It may be peanut M&Ms, gummy snacks, marshmallows, chocolate chips or some sugary cereal like Fruit Loops. Just the other day, my oldest daughter declared that she would always give her kids popcorn with “stuff” in it.
  3. Family Dinners. Everyone has heard about the importance of families eating dinner together. When we do it, however, it is quite a sight. We have a small, round, four-seater table in our kitchen. We have five kids, y’all. Every night, seven of us squeeze around that table. We pull in chairs from other rooms. One kid sits in a high chair. And, when grandparents visit, we squeeze them in too! Oh, one day we will have the funds to finance a larger table and it will be nice. There is a part of me, however, that will sure miss sitting elbow to elbow with my peeps and talking about our day.

Trinkets have their place. It is just plain fun to buy our babies things that we know they will enjoy. When they have grown and have spread their wings and flown, however, it will be the traditions that remind them of home.

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