Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Value of Tradition in Family Life

"Every heart that has beat strong and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradtion of mankind."
~Robert Louis Stevenson 

I am indebted to generations of family that have passed on our heritage and traditions, and with each passing year, I am more and more appreciative of the legacy entrusted to me. Tradition is a gift to be passed on to my children; and while it truly is a gift, it is also their birthright, an integral part of their identity.

Sometimes the passing on of tradition can be hard work and all too easily tossed aside in our ever- busy lives. But it is tradition that glues a family together and causes us too look back on days filled with special memories.

Today we made Fasnachts, a kind of donut made by the Pennsylvania dutch the day before Lent. Both of my parents grew up near Lancaster county where the custom of making Fasnachts originated. Only one of my grandparents is actually Pennsylvania dutch, the others are all of Irish descent. I just know that my mother has made Fasnachts as far back as I can remember, and I have continued the tradition with my own children.

I read something by Thomas Merton that has been stewing in my mind the last couple of days:

"Lent  is not a season of punishment, so much a s a season of healing."
(From : Lent and Easter Wisdom From Thomas Merton, p.2)

Of course, that does not mean we should not deny ourselves more than usual during Lent, however, the focus  should be on what we can add to our lives that will bring about healing and peace not only to ourselves, but to those around us.

Perhaps beginning a few traditions this Lent may be one way to bring family members together? Traditions are like habits; at first they are hard to get used to,  but after a while you don't know how you lived without them!

I pray you have a blesed and peaceful Lent; may this season bear much fruit in your lives!