Family Traditions: Worth Singing About


Traditions demonstrate to our children what the family considers important.

I remember the first holiday with my wife. As we gathered around the table with her entire family—about 20 people strong—I grabbed my wife's chair to pull it out for her to be seated.

Not yet, she said with her eyes.

As she took my hand, I looked around at four generations of her family. They were all smiling and looking expectantly at Grandad. As I turned to look at him as well, his wide grin opened and out came the most confidently sung verse I had heard in a long while.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Even before the first word was finished, my wife's entire family had joined in.

Praise Him all creatures here below

I knew my wife's family had a rich musical heritage, but this was different. This was some sort of genetic mutation! Every member seemed to have an instinctive gift for harmony. Who were these people?

Praise Him above ye heavenly host

I suddenly realized I was the only one not singing.

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost

I had witnessed a family tradition years in the making. As surprised as I was by the way this family filled the room with wonderful harmonies, I was equally taken aback by the gusto with which they sang.

I learned during dinner that this tradition began years and years ago. My wife and her sisters learned to sing this song before family dinners when they were all very small.

Traditions are funny that way.

Whether it's singing together before a holiday meal or something as simple as a bedtime routine, traditions demonstrate to our children what the family considers important. Hopefully, when they're older, our kids will adopt some of these same traditions for themselves. Or maybe they will create some of their own.

Children need to learn the importance of family traditions. Because, like traditions, family is generational. Taken together, family traditions, activities and everyday involvement provide vital opportunities for loved ones to grow closer together and to develop healthy relationships.

And that's worth singing about.

With gusto.


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