Family Traditions–Family First Friday #11

Today is an amazing day at our house!!   We have many children who are amazing at math.  They are not necessarily brilliant, but amazing is accurate.  Today is the 14th day of the third month.  If you put those numbers together, you get:

3.14=

Pi day.  Or as we know it, Pie day.
Every year on March 14th, we celebrate pi day, by purchasing several pies from Marie Calendars.  This year, it is french apple, cherry, and chocolate silk.  I personally am not a big pie girl.  I like cake.  So I am having strawberry shortcake, because the pies I really like are the fatty, creamy ones with tons and tons of milk, which is probably why I like them.  (In my humble opinion, they are the only pies worth eating.  Periodically a pecan pie will work, but with all the nut allergies in our home, I’d rather just avoid the entire possibility.)
This is just one of the many traditions that happen at our house.  Sunday, is, of course, selection Sunday where the teams who have made the NCAA basketball tournament are announced and the bracket is laid out.  Which means for all of the days from Monday to Wednesday at midnight, all the people in my home will be filling out their tournament brackets choosing which teams they think will make the final four, and then win the championship.  It is a very serious and intense time in our home.  Then on Thursday morning, the fun begins!!
If you are in the third grade or older, you get to stay home from school on Thursday and Friday and Drew takes off work.  We spend three days watching basketball from 9 a.m until about 10 p.m.  We have lots of fun food.  (Not pie, we can only afford to do that once.)  We joke around with each other, root for our teams, razz each other about whose team really tanked it and laugh at each other when our final four teams, or worse, our championship teams are out in the first or second round.  Then we start cheering for the teams that will make the others in our families tank their bracket as well.  Mind you, this does not get ugly.  We do not allow that.  If we can tell that someone is really upset that their team is out (because when you are working with children that happens periodically a lot!).  We are kind.  We teach that losing is part of the process.  It happens to all of us.  And we model proper behavior as adults, when it happens to us too.
These are just a couple of the fun things we do in our family to enjoy each others’ company and build family unity and solidarity.
Family traditions are important because they say, “This is what means you belong here.”  It is an identity creating experience.  In our home, we do not have enough money to take elaborate vacations.  Drew’s busiest time at work is over the summer, so vacations during that time are almost always out or if we do something, Drew cannot come.  March Madness and Pie Day are things Drew can do with our family, and they do not cost more than our family budget can manage.  
The point is, family traditions are an important way of bringing the generations together.  As those traditions are passed down through the generations, they give each successive generation things that connect them to those before them.  Stories from those activities are then passed down as well.  For instance, with our March Madness, Slim’s first bracket (3rd grade) he picked Duke to win.  They did that year.  Now, no matter how horrible their record is, if they are in the ‘big dance,’ Slim usually puts them somewhere in the final four.  It is really funny.  That experience solidified for him, a love of the Blue Devils.  (At least their school colors are the right color—that’s all I am saying………[every school I have ever attended, beginning with middle school, has had blue and white as their colors]).
I just thought this was hilarious!
Family traditions don’t have to cost a lot of money.  They just have to be consistent.  Some small traditions at our house are using china and formal table settings for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter dinners.  We put weird fruit in the children’s Christmas stockings.  Sport always gets a pineapple.  I don’t think everyone at his house, when he is the father will get fruit.  But he has already said that everyone at his house will get a pineapple in their stocking.  We will see what his wife has to say about that.  Family prayer, family scripture study, and family home evening are also family traditions.  I hope those things are passed to the succeeding generations as well!
But those are things I look forward to watching.  As a new husband and his bride begin their family, they will bring positive traditions from his family and positive traditions from her family, and together they will decide what it means to be a part of their family.

PS….check this out:  Strengthening Marriage and Family through traditions.  I found it this morning!!  See??  Traditions really do strengthen families!

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