What are the “we always” events in your family? In your ministry? One of the anchor points in a child’s life are the “we always” moments:
We always go to church on Sunday.
We always share “best and worst” at the dinner table.
We always use the good china at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
We always attend the midnight showing of superhero movies.
Family traditions connect children to something bigger than themselves. Traditions or family rituals can be something simple or something elaborate. The key is to make it memorable. In our home we have become intentional about creating traditions around the table. Games we play – ideas we share – reading scripture together.
In Deuteronomy 6:6-9 the establishment of a Hebrew ritual was clear – pass these things on to your children. Our creator knew that repetition was essential to our grasping and applying these truths. In the rush of our society today the value of tradition and repetition are sometimes lost in the crush to move on the next thing.
Research reveals that homes that have established family traditions are homes where child do better. The stability and connection of these family traditions are a building block of development in a child’s life. As we connect are children to something bigger than themselves we are establishing values that can be passed on for generations.
The same holds true with traditions in ministry. We are often looking for the next “big thing” to propel our ministries forward. Sometimes we should be careful to evaluate things that hold substantial value in their current form. Doing something new and innovative simply because it is new and innovative can often be counter-productive.
While I am definitely a proponent for evaluating the effectiveness of each program I would also caution us as leaders to be aware of the intrinsic value that may not be as easily measured.
What are the traditions in your ministry? What are the events that hold special meaning for your families? What are some traditions you would like to start?