Guest Blogger: Family Rituals

Posted by Marina Orievsky on

GUEST BLOGGER: Shawn Hull, Happiest Days Designs

It’s September, and this time of year marks back to school. Summer’s lazy days have come to a close, and now is the time for rituals and structure. Every year, since our girls first started pre-school, we mark the first day of school with much jubilation! In the morning, each girl wears the special outfit picked out for this special day and then downstairs to take pictures to document the momentous occasion. Finally, the piece de resistance, a special after school snack! We have done a homemade school bus cake, a pencil cake, huge skillet chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream, and this year, chocolate cupcakes decorated with either the grade level or the grades I expect them to get ( 3’s, 5’s, and E’s –equivalent of an A). Trust me I’m not Duff from Charm City Cakes-- plain Duncan Hines box cake and a tube of purple decorating gel does the trick. Yup, we do First Day of School up right!

Why pay so much attention to the first day of school? Heck, its going to be followed by 179 others. I have my reasons. The method to my madness is that family rituals matter. Every family evolves their own set of the way they do things, the things they value, the ways that make them unique. In our family, a high priority is put on education. I used to be a college professor and my husband’s parents were both High School teachers, so yes, education is important to the Hulls. Thus the hoopla for the First Day of School- every year!

I feel that structure, repetition, and ritual help create stability for a family. It’s these repeated events that help create identity and are the memories we turn to when we feel that the world is going too fast. It’s reassuring to have something to count on. However, family rituals need not be staunch and staid, there’s room for flexibility and each family chooses, to their own taste, what works for them. In our household we have daily rituals like the goodnight kiss. But no, this is not your usual peck and hug as you tuck your sweet little ones in to bed. In our house, creativity and invention rules, so each girl has her own good night kiss “routine”, totally different from each other. There are kisses and hugs (a certain number) followed by hand motions (know as “Kissing Hands”-  an homage to the book) followed by tickles and certain phrases. Occasionally, the girls change their choreography and Mom and Dad are lost for a couple of days until we memorize the new routine. Yeah, they are not in bed precisely at 8:00 pm- these routines take time, but its something Mom and Dad share with them before they go to bed, something the kids get to take the lead in.

We have lots of other family rituals, Friday night Pizza/Movie night, going to the Christmas Tree Farm to pick and cut down our Christmas Tree, summer trip to the amusement park, etc...

Does your family have special rituals? What are some of your favorites and why? Do you think family rituals are important? Why or Why not?

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