Three days and this leg of the journey ends… three days and a brand new season begins for #TeamJustus… three days to a new normal. When Kelli and I are coaching other people or parents looking for ways to improve the sense of “closeness” in their families, we invariably will talk about one important tool. It’s not brand new and we certainly didn’t invent it. But when kids are struggling with a sense of belonging… or parents are racking their brains on how to make something like next week’s Thanksgiving celebration more meaningful… or a family is needing to re-establish a new normal… this important tool is critical.
What is this “tool”? It’s traditions. We have always believed in the importance of traditions, especially in the context of family. In our home, we’ve found those near rituals have provided our kids with a kind of anchor to tie up to. Traditions become something to count on when maybe life is getting unpredictable or shaky. And yes, when you find yourself in the place of creating a new normal, then some of those “old” traditions become building blocks for the “new” ones.
Today I was reminded in a very tangible way as a few from our family went to prepare for what has become a tradition in the Pritchard home. For years now, with very few exceptions, we have visited our friends at Clyde n’ Dales Tree Farm in Olympia to cut down our Christmas tree. It’s a wonderful place with a horse-drawn trolley and great trees (picture #1). We are holding out hope that Justus might join us when we go actually cut the tree. But to make sure we were able to find a good tree we went and picked it out today (picture #2). We are going to wait until the middle of December for the possibility of all our grandkids joining us for this Pritchard Christmas tradition.
A tradition in the Nikolao home is their bedtime routine. Every night they read to their kids and then pray for them before tucking them in. Alyse and Jason have been very creative in how they have handled this tradition. Although I must admit, I think Jason got more creative genes from his parents then poor Alyse received from hers. Jason has created songs for this bedtime ritual… I think some of you have seen him read the book with no pictures… you get the point. Picture #3 was taken tonight as Justus is again home on a one-day pass. His aunt Kortney from Nashville flew in to spend Thanksgiving with the family. This nighttime tradition will help provide some stability for all of them as they re-establish their new normal.
So I would encourage you to keep looking for fun ways to create some new traditions this holiday season. Make it a point to pass along to your kids traditions they will look forward to sharing with their families someday. Maybe #TeamJustus can be an inspiration to start a prayer tradition in your home.
One last tradition that I’m guessing isn’t unique to our home. Every Thanksgiving we go around and one by one share something we are thankful for. Normally, as tradition would have it, we start with the youngest and move to the oldest and you aren’t allowed to repeat. I think you can guess what everyone’s answer will be this year. We may end up keeping our tradition but changing the rules just a little!
Now as we continue 10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… #TeamJustus, what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?