Happy Marriages and Family Traditions

   I came across a book with the above title written by Verna Birkey and Jeanette Turnquist, and it struck a very happy chord in my heart; a chord that rings with many pleasant memories of our family activities together. Even now, when possible, our children arrange to be home for Christmas. Not for Christmas itself, but to take part in a family tradition, a shrimp and steak fondue Christmas Eve.
   What was once a very special event for Mabel and me has become a family tradition. It was not something that was planned but came along by accident as the result of a request by our children to participate in something that they saw as quite unusual. As a result, each one has their own special memories of Christmas Eve and the family all together. Now, as they come home, we sit and talk about the various family traditions they are establishing, each different in their own way, hoping that their children will be able to look back at their family activities with the same fond memories they each have.
   How does one begin a family tradition? Some things are planned like vacation camping; other things happen and we are wise enough to seize the moment. For us, Christmas Eve was a moment that we were able to seize. The key is listening to your children and learning to recognize what they see as "good times" to be repeated.
   Quoting from the introduction of Building Happy Memories & Family Traditions: "A memory is a legacy, something special handed down from one generation to another. It can be much more than a material object. In fact, the best memories are often stored only in the mind, not in the cedar chest or the far corner of the attic. Family togetherness is a memory..."
   I don't know if I am able to tell you step by step how to build family traditions, but I hope this personal illustration will help you understand a little of what I am trying to convey.

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