Creating new traditions has been a recurring theme on this blog from the holidays in December to Mother’s Day and even bedtime, so when “rites of passage” was chosen as a discussion theme for the new Humanist Parenting Group I recently joined, I found myself listening more than talking. I am still sorting out what ritual means to us as a family. It sounds too old-fashioned for us, but, really, we are suckers for all things sentimental. And what could be more sentimental than spending the whole month of December in one on-going celebration of us?
The group conversation went from baby naming ceremonies to holidays and more. I shared a tradition from my childhood of celebrating my parent’s anniversary as a family holiday with presents and special activities for everyone, and other families shared their plans for welcoming their baby and celebrating a life of an elderly relative.
I, of course, turned to books for ideas. In The Book of New Family Traditions Meg Cox lists ten things rituals do for children. Among them are providing a sense of identity, teaching values, and navigating change. She writes, “The special power of ritual is that it can slow time and heighten our senses, and by doing so, we can intensify and deepen our family ties.” Is that what our DIY Christmas trees do? Here’s hoping…
Whether you are a sucker for sentiment or just interested in reading about families and culture, you might be interested in the bibliography I created for the group with books for kids and parents about traditions and milestones of all sorts.