Celebrating special events
Special events - births, birthdays, weddings, tangi, religious festivals, leaving school, graduations, retirements are the lifeblood of family life.
They give meaning to who we are and what we do. They bind the family members together in a common purpose.
Sometimes riotous fun, sometimes a time of sadness and recollection, sometimes moments of hope and inspiration, always they should be special times. Unfortunately in the rush of everyday life, they can get ignored or hurried. Sometimes also they do not work out the way that we had hoped and become a source of disappointment or friction within the family. Sometimes the significance of the event becomes overshadowed by the financial cost.
Your own family traditions make your family special and give children pride in their family. They love to be able to say "In our family we always ..." As you plan special family events and celebrations do remember their importance and significance for the children. The traditions may be small things like the way you organise birthdays, a small coin in each plate of Christmas pudding, a family dinner every Sunday evening which everybody always attends whatever happens.
Family traditions are also an important way of bringing several generations together, sharing a sense of togetherness and belonging. Don't hesitate to create new traditions. This is especially important as marriages cross nationality, cultural and religious boundaries. The addition of an American to the family may mean learning to celebrate Thanksgiving, marrying a Muslim may mean the family learns respect for Ramadan and how to make a special family effort over the evening meal during Ramadan.'
Your child plays with children of different faiths and beliefs at school. Encourage them to respect and celebrate this diversity. When they bring their new friends home to play, make them welcome and encourage them to talk about their separate identity.
Encourage them to find your home a place where their culture or religion is welcome and safe to talk about. Your own children will learn from how you handle such diversity.
Become aware of the separate traditions and when they are celebrated so that you do not offer food to the Muslim child during Ramadan or the Jewish child during Yom Kippur. Ask the Hindu friend about Diwali and what it means.
- Family events and children
- Tips on shopping for gifts
- Making the family meal a special event
- Avoiding stress