Rituals are powerful; they help us see what we otherwise might forget to look for. The same is true at home. Daily rituals and family traditions serve to show us and our children who we are and what matters to us. Here are some good opportunities to introduce rituals into your family life.
Bedtime rituals can be a challenge at the end of a long day, but children often need help falling asleep as nighttime fears arise. Take this opportunity to introduce bedtime prayers to your children and to help them develop trust in God as our protector and provider. See this time spent as an investment in your child’s spiritual and emotional wellness. As your children grow, don’t abandon the bedtime ritual, but adapt it to suit their needs.
Birthdays and Baptismal Days
Birthday celebrations are great ways to emphasize that your children are unique and loved. Recognizing, in some significant way, your children’s baptismal day is a great way to celebrate their relationship with God. A simple way to celebrate a baptismal anniversary is to light a candle, explain why you gave your child his or her name, and then spend a moment talking about the goodness you see in that child. In this way you will nurture the natural spirituality of your children and demonstrate that there is more to them than they probably know.
Some of the best family fun can be had by developing little rituals that are unique to your lives together. There's many simple practices that celebrate the sacred. Perhaps every Friday night your family eats pizza, piles on the couch together, and watches a movie. Or perhaps New Year’s Day is your family’s day to go on a long hike in the woods. Value these rituals and know that they are anchors for your kids in a turbulent world.
Eating a family meal on a regular basis is a profound ritual. Begin the meal with prayer. Make time for everyone to share something about their day. Try fun meal-time questions like those in The Meal Box, they will encourage conversation, laughter, and sharing. Above all, make the table a welcoming, come-as-you-are place. Welcome friends, neighbors, and those in need to your table as well. Jesus did some of his best teaching from the dinner table. You can too, just by passing the potatoes.