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We Are Family: The Value of Family Traditions

Shmuel Fischler, LCSW-C · October 14, 2020

COVID-19 has changed many things about our lives, and as we prepare to enter the holiday season, many people are reflecting on the value of family traditions. Even in stressful and trying times, our traditions, rituals and shared beliefs can still unite us. The more that things seem to change, the more that we cling to things that stay the same.

What Are Family Traditions?

While we might have preconceived notions about what family traditions are based on our past experiences, family traditions can take a broad variety of forms. Saying a prayer before dinner is a family tradition, just like an annual trip to a family reunion is a family tradition. Family traditions can be any event, ritual or thing that helps to provide your family with a sense of a shared identity and continuity.

What Is The Value of Family Traditions?

One of the most critical aspects of family traditions is how they unite us with the past. Whether your family started a tradition two weeks ago to have game night on Wednesday or your family has been going to dinner at a local restaurant once a month for two decades, these rituals tie us to our past family members, our past selves and our current family.

The value of family traditions also includes the sense of community that they provide us with. If your family traditions include religious or spiritual events, like visiting a local church or participating in an international religious holiday, these rituals help to connect you to your family, and you to the world at large.

Traditions also are one way that we teach our values to the next generation and reinforce them to current generations. In this sense, the value of family traditions is also that they influence the characteristics that we value as a society and as communities. For example, our families model interpersonal relationships to us. The way that we are supported and cared for through our family traditions influences how we will treat the people who we encounter at school, at work and in our daily lives. While you might not think opening presents under a tree is connected to the way that we treat people in our daily lives, the value of family traditions cannot be understated.

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