good life by candice stringham
Part of cultivating a good life is nurturing family relationships through creating and keeping traditions.
It’s hard for me to even think of a way to explain how much of an influence growing up with strong family traditions has had on me. My parents worked hard to build and create beautiful family traditions that brought us together as siblings and parents and bonded us as a family. To this day I cannot put up a Christmas tree until the day after Thanksgiving or spend a Christmas season without an advent calendar. There is never a first snow without watching White Christmas no matter when that happens in the year. My dad still sends me a card on Valentine’s Day telling me why he loves me; a tradition he started when I was in 4th grade (I know because I’ve kept every card). And now my husband continues with my own children.
Of course the holidays have the most family traditions associated with them, but traditions don’t have to be limited to Christmas or Thanksgiving. They can be as simple as a bedtime routine of reading a story or singing a song; maybe it’s taking a morning walk each Saturday together as a family or having the same dinner together each Sunday. Maybe it’s starting the morning off with your kids saying a daily affirmation to the mirror. The point is just that you do it together and you do it consistently.
As a mother, I worry increasingly that the influence of my children’s peers and the media will have a stronger hold on my children than my own influence; that somehow the world will create doubts in them about how special they are and how important and good it is to just be themselves. In several different studies by psychologists, it was determined that “family traditions enhance children’s emotional well-being by helping to create feelings of security, continuity, and identity.” I really believe that to be true because I have felt that in my own life and I see it in my children’s lives.
Our little family has been through a lot this year with much struggle and heartache, but I know that the traditions we have created in the past will keep us close and happy together throughout this holiday season. I’m so grateful for the bonds our old and hopefully new traditions have and will create.
Note from Becky
I am so thankful to Candice for sharing this message with us. Chances are, many of you are reflecting on your own traditions and if you’re like me, you’re feeling motivated to reassess traditions in your life, in general, to be sure that we really are implementing this special part of life. It’s quite likely that you are implementing traditions that you may not even realize are traditions! I encourage you to gather as a family, talk about traditions, appreciate what you’re already doing, reflect on those fond memories, and set goals to continue with – or start new – traditions.
Candice has inspired me with her imagery and her good heart for many years. We go way back to the Creating Keepsakes magazine days, which is when I first met her. We were both teaching at CKU events. She is a beautiful person – inside, outside, and all around and her pictures make me happy.