A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past.
There was this moment that impacted me as a kid….. it happened while I was observing my friend’s family carrying out their Valentines Day traditions. It was a big holiday in their family; even bigger than Christmas. Every year my friend’s mom would get each of her kids a special gift; it always included a pair of Valentines themed underwear, LOL. I knew from that moment on, I wanted to have special traditions in my own family some day. That friend became my first husband and my first child’s daddy… so lucky, while we are no longer married, my daughter has enjoyed this special family tradition with her dad and grandmother for years. I loved the idea so much that as my own family grew, I remarried and had 3 more children, I decided to adopt the same tradition. Over the years, I’ve come to really understand the importance of keeping these family traditions, however silly they may seem, and now our family has many Valentines traditions of our own!
Why Keep Traditions?
Traditions give your children a way to identify themselves with the family, to build a sense of belonging.
If you are a child who’s parents divorced, you know it can sometimes be difficult to feel connected to one or the other. It often feels as though you belong no where. Because of their special tradition, my little girl has a strong connection to her dad’s side of the family.
They connect future generations…
just as it did for my daughter and her grandmother. Before long, our traditions will be carried on to my own grandchildren.
They help build family values…
by giving opportunity to discuss and celebrate the things that are most important to you.
They add a certain comfort and security…
by looking forward to every Valentines Day, and knowing exactly what will be happening. No matter how chaotic our world may be, you can always rely on tradition.
And most of all they build positive and lasting childhood memories…
much like the photographs in our life do. Traditions help to preserve those memories. Think about your own childhood and your most positive memories…. likely they surround some sort of family tradition.
Why Valentines Day?
For me it surrounds the most important family value. LOVE.
Yes, Valentines Day has become a bit cliche’ and often superficial. But what an opportunity to make it more. To establish in your family THE IMPORTANCE OF LOVE and the VALUE OF TRUE LOVE. To open conversation about what real love is and is not. For daddies to show their sons and daughters how a woman should be treated. For mamas to teach their daughters and sons what it looks like to truly love others in their lives. Oh, I’m getting a bit sappy, but what a wonderful place it would be if everyone had a family tradition!! LOL! So go create some traditions for your family, even if its not Valentines!
Our Family Valentines Day Traditions
The key to traditions is keeping them (or at least most of them) the same every year.
1.Something From Dad
Every year the kids(and me) look forward to a heart shaped box of chocolates from Dad. The kids love it so much they always remind him no to forget!
2.Something From Mom
I provide the variety, because I like change! I try to come up with something new to do each year. This year we painted mustaches and hearts for our V-day photos. Oh, and I always give out conversation hearts because they are my favorite Valentines Day candy!
Laughter brings people together, our funniest tradition is our Valentines themed underwear!
Purpose will keep tradition alive; what better way than through a LOVE note! I take a photo of each of the kids and print it on business cards. I give them one of each person and they write something they love about that person on the back. Then they put it in each others “LOVE BOX”.
5.Something to Eat
For breakfast we have heart shaped pancakes, strawberries and whip cream. And of course lots of Valentines candy!
Our Valentines Day photo shoot in our V-day underpants provides just that! When we do something unique to just our family, it gives everyone a special sense of belonging.
7.Something to Keep
Each kid has a special keepsake box to keep all of their family love notes in from year to year. We call it our “LOVE BOX”. Then by the time they go off to college they will have a box full of reminders telling what their family loves about them. My hope is that it will also break up some of the sibling rivalry and build their relationships with each other!
I hope you are inspired to create your own family traditions. If you don’t know where to start, feel free to adopt some of our family traditions!
Pinterest is also a great place to find ideas! Being an all or nothing person myself, I know how easy it is to get all gung-ho on something only to get burnt out, so just choose one or two in the beginning. Happy Valentines day to you! Here’s to creating your own family traditions!
Children’s Photography Instructor for The Photographers Element
Find out more about Jenny’s course ALL THE COOL KIDS, debuting in March 2015!
Married and living in Roseburg, Oregon with 4 kids of her own, she is one of the most real, honest and down to earth people you will ever meet. It’s been said that Jenny has an uncanny ability to elicit great expressions out of any kid. She believes there isn’t a child out there that she couldn’t get a great photograph of. Her secret?? Patience. Determination. And an understanding and love of children.
Jenny’s confidence and passion spills out from her ‘Can Do’ spirit. She doesn’t believe being a successful photographer is a matter of what gifts you were born with, but how hard you’ve worked and how many failures you’ve overcome. Being completely self-taught has presented her with many challenges, but also an understanding for the needs and doubts among aspiring photographers. She never claims to be the absolute expert, but is willing to do whatever it takes to figure it out, and to help those around her succeed.
Jenny has earned recognition as an award winning photographer by the National Association of Professional Child Photographers, Shoot and Share Magazine and various other blogs and websites. When she’s not being a mama or photographing clients, you can find her filling her time with a variety of creative avenues like: refinishing furniture, redesigning/remodeling her home or cutting a friend’s hair.
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