Resolutions and Rituals

January…A fresh start to the year. The time when we come up with our ‘new year resolutions.’ It is also the time I again share the Harvard study done years ago that reports if you WRITE down your goals you have a much better chance of accomplishing them. So in a nut shell,

  1. Make New Year goals
  2. Write them down
  3. Accomplish them

Moving on—this year I want to look at rituals and traditions. Coming off the holiday, families have many different traditions that play out during this time. I always ask friends about their Christmas/winter holiday tradition. Does Santa come on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Do you cook specially foods for the feast? Does the entire family and extended family get together at one house? When do you visit your in-laws? Speaking recently to a friend raising her children celebrating both Hanukah and Christmas, I had loads of questions.

I know rituals are important even outside the holiday scene. One ritual from growing up in my parents’ house that I have carried over to mine (when my children still lived at home) was family meals together. It wasn’t easy as the kids were in many activities. Luckily when they are really young, you can control much more of their time. As they become active in school activities it become much more difficult. Fortunately, no one was on the swim team (which met at 6:30 a.m.). Since I could control the mornings, I did. We had family breakfast before school every day, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

During these morning meals my two children learned to say please and thank you, pass food, eat with their mouth closed, and frankly how to respect each other and the time we had together. Start at a young age as it is much easier to shape minds and behaviors.

You may be interested in Richard Greenberg’s book too, “Raising Children That Other People Like To Be Around”. I just like the title of it. You can also follow his blog commonsensedad.com. His stories will make you smile and cry.

Maybe this is the year to start some new rituals or family traditions. I think that’s a doable resolution.

Happy 2015!