The Power of Positive Family Traditions!

There is great power in the establishment of positive, repetitive personal, family and community traditions. We need to consider how to add these small and more momentous acts into the lives of our family. Part of offering welcome to others around us can also involve including others in these traditions. Why go to the effort to plan and implement regular family traditions?

  • The repetitive act of family traditions gives security to family members.

  • They add a sense of identity to our families.

  • They give the opportunity for "family lore" and stories to be passed from one generation to the next.

  • They connect us to the larger community.

  • They root our story in the historical stories of our family, community and country.

  • They need to be planned to be simple enough to implement without exhausting all concerned!

  • They must be adjusted through the years as our children grow (see story below)

  • They can help to reinforce our faith and what we believe.

  • They are fun to pass on to the next generation and add a sense of continuity to the next generation.

  • They give us an opportunity to live generously and to include others that may be beyond our family circle.

Some of our family stories:

One year we had to adjust our normal family tradition as our children had grown older. Our children (and a friend of Fay’s) wanted to climb on the roof to have the Easter picnic! We all climbed a ladder and I served food and hot chocolate on the roof and we told the Easter story up there. It was good that it was very early in the morning as I am not sure what the neighbors would have thought had they seen us!

Though the years we have had an Easter Morning sunrise picnic with our children and have used the Easter Story Eggs to tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We have passed on this tradition to our children for them to share with their family. Brett made a set of the Easter Story Eggs for our son and daughter-in-law and this is now a tradition for them as well.



seder meal

Passover is such a significant time for Jewish people all over the world.  The Passover holiday begins with the Seder, a ritual feast, that retells the story of the Israelites being delivered by God from slavery in ancient Egypt. The Israelites were instructed to tell their children the story and pass it down from generation to generation as recorded in Exodus 13:8. The family gathers around the table and reads the text of the Haggadah while eating symbolic food. 

I have so enjoyed the times when I have been privileged to attend a Seder feast and have loved being reminded of this important story through the words being spoken, the questions asked (often by the youngest child), answers given and the food we ate.

Seder meal - Rudee family

My friend Gail Rudee shared with me how she and her husband traveled from Seattle to Los Angeles to celebrate Passover with their son Alex.  Because they were visiting their son they didn’t have Gail’s fancy tableware with them so wine glasses from a wine tasting the previous day did the trick!  Gail cooked her grandma’s “old country” recipes and transported them to LA. and they so enjoyed cooking the last minute dishes together.  When their daughter Talia was not able to attend the seder as she was at college they “skyped” her in!  I love how we can use technology to keep families connected.

Robin Cunningham has four children and shared with me that Passover is their family’s favorite holiday.  They have a number of regulars who attend the meal and then they reach out to new people each year.  Robin says her Christian friends are often the ones most excited to experience a Seder. They have many traditions that add to the richness (and fun) of the experience.  They go around the table and ask everyone what they would take, and why, if they had to leave home in a hurry and knew they were never coming back.  Robin says they have heard some fun responses through the years! 

A Bay Area resident shared, "When I think of Passover, I immediately think of a long night of traditions and a time of remembrance. I think of the opportunity to be with family, talk about the hardships the Jewish people have overcome, and look to the past to inform our future."  Another person added, "When I think about hospitality in the Passover tradition, I'm reminded of Elijah's chair. There's always space for God. And there's always space for another friend to come and join the seder."

I love that.  There's always space for God.  And space for someone else to come to the table.

Check out our Heartistry Pinterest Board for Passover table decor ideas.