“New Tradition” sounds like an oxymoron. Traditions are rituals or events that draw a straight line from the past to the present. Take that pine tree in your living room. This is a thing that signals the coming of winter (firs thrive in the cold) and brings new life into homes as the light from the windows goes out. It is also a thing your ancestors had in their homes. It is a shared experience with personal and cultural significance. So what is a new tradition? A new tradition is what happens when families find a way to connect to the past while taking ownership over the future.
New traditions matter because old traditions often turn into habits or obligations. They cease to have significance or begin to reflect values at odds with the zeitgeist. Or — and this happens a lot — they simply don’t work within the context of a growing family. They don’t resonate. When this happens, it’s time to forge new traditions.
Make no mistake: Forging new traditions is no small task. Still, it is a worthy one. Parents especially have the opportunity to create something that lasts for generations and helps their children feel connected to a broader family narrative. New traditions help children understand that they are both important and part of something bigger. But, again, this sort of thing is complicated to engineer. Consider this your guide.