Coach Mom Newsletter - NOV 2010
A Note from Brenna
Christmas are quickly approaching, and this
time of year brings thoughts of family
traditions from childhood to present. This
month I am pleased to introduce Suzanne
Taylor, who has many great things to share
with us about traditions and how they
benefit our families.
Suzanne is the one who
works each month to lay out newsletter
content and make sure it gets to your inbox.
She’s also the one who designed my website
and designed each page with photographs she
took of my clocks. Even my website “wall” is
built from a photograph taken of a blank
wall in my home. Isn’t that cool? The other
neat thing is that God has reunited Suzanne
and I after many years. In college, my
triplet sister and I flanked each side of
Suzanne in choir every day our last three
years at OBU. We shared many great trips,
inspiring moments and laughs together.
Now, twenty years
later, Suzanne and I are members of the same
church and she is my greatest helper,
advisor, and encourager in helping me help
moms. As I count all my blessings this year,
Suzanne is on the list. I know she will be a
blessing to you, too, as you read her ideas
on family traditions.
Bless you and yours,
P.S. Watch for information on an upcoming MomsAway
retreat that Suzanne and I are partnering to
host March 4-6, 2011.
Family Traditions ... Or
The Way We
Always Do Things
When I hear someone say
family traditions, I immediately think of
Tevye singing, “Traditions! Traditions!”
from Fiddler on the Roof. I love his monologue:
Because of our traditions, we've kept our balance for many, many years.
Here in Anatevka, we have traditions for
everything... How to sleep, how to eat...
how to work... how to wear clothes. For
instance, we always keep our heads covered,
and always wear a little prayer shawl that
shows our constant devotion to God. You may
ask, "How did this tradition get started?"
I'll tell you! [pause]
I don't know. But it's a tradition... and
because of our traditions... Every one of us
knows who he is and what God expects him to
That is what I love
about traditions. They help us keep our
balance. They teach us who we are, where we
came from. Traditions are the ties that bind
past generations to future generations. We
can use traditions to speak truth into our
children’s lives, to teach lessons, to build
character. Our traditions define our family.
Each family has
traditions, whether they have been
purposeful in creating them or keeping them.
They are the “But we always do it this way”
moments in life. I heard it from my oldest
child recently, “Why don’t we have waffles
for breakfast on Saturday anymore? We used
to always have waffles for breakfast on
For the most part,
traditions fall into two categories:
- Traditions of
celebration – things we do around
certain holidays, seasons or events in
- Life rituals – the
everyday routines that are unique to our
family, the day-to-day activities that
provide consistency and security for our
Traditions of celebration mark the
holidays and seasons, and Thanksgiving
offers some great opportunities for
establishing traditions. Some of my favorite
- Watch the
Thanksgiving Day Parade.
- Say a special prayer
- Give “I’m thankful
for …“ toasts before meals throughout
- Write a thank you
note to someone who made an impact on
your life in the last year and maybe
didn’t even know it.
- Share favorite
recipes with friends.
- Light "Thank You"
- Go to a shelter and
- Make a Thank You
wreath by having everyone write down
what they are thankful for on a fall
leaf shape and attaching them to a
As wonderful as
traditions of celebration are, I think our
life rituals are probably much more
important. These are the routines that teach
our children about their family and their
place in it. Here are some
every day connections we
have in our family:
- Pray for each family
member by name.
- Snuggle in the
morning and review dreams.
- Check the calendar
- Eat dinner as a
family at least 4x a week.
- Call Dad at work
with special news or no news.
- Say, “I love you
- Kiss good-bye; kiss
hello; kiss good night; kiss good
- Give special hugs.
- Hide to scare Dad
when he comes home.
- Skype with Dad when
he’s out of town for work, have a
long-distance dinner together.
- Give special kisses:
Eskimo, butterfly, puppy.
For a full list
Year of Family Traditions and
Life Rituals: Not Your Traditional
Traditions, visit my blog
themomspeaks.blogspot.com. Share your
family traditions and rituals with me, too!
Starting a Family Tradition:
The reason may be as simple as building
family ties, but have a reason. Keep
your purpose in mind as you plan the
(ESV) says, “You shall love the LORD
your God with all your heart and with
all your soul and with all your might.
And these words that I command you today
shall be on your heart. You shall teach
them diligently to your children, and
shall talk of them when you sit in your
house, and when you walk by the way, and
when you lie down, and when you rise.”
What better purpose for a new tradition
or ritual than teaching our children to
love God and obey His teachings?!
Some ideas sound good on paper but may
not work in reality. A family hike to
look at fall leaves may sound like a
good idea, but if you have a toddler who
will tire out easily or a child with
allergies to every known weed, tree and
grass, it may not be a practical idea.
Consider the realities of who your
family is and your season of life when
deciding on a new ritual or tradition.
Make it yours. Put your unique spin on
it. Meg Cox writes in
The Book of New Family Traditions,
“Take something from your family’s
history or passions to create a ritual …
that will be much more meaningful than a
generic ritual because it is specific to
Be prepared to let
Whether it is a family tradition that
you brought with you from your childhood
or it is a new tradition that sounded
like a good idea, if it doesn’t work for
your family, it doesn’t work. And it is
okay to let it go, for a time (until
your children are older) or forever.
When we had our
first child, my husband thought it would
be a neat tradition to make Christmas
ornaments as a family each year. Great
idea; sounded like fun. The first year,
I gathered supplies and planned the
night. My husband ended up working late
that night (and the next several), until
I gave up and made the ornaments myself
with the baby. The second year, the
exact same thing happened. And the third
… well, it turns out December is
typically a busy month in my husband’s
office, and our oldest was not
especially the arts & crafts type. This
was a tradition that did not fit, did
If it creates more
grumbles than greatness, it is probably
not worth the time and effort. Let it
Traditions and rituals
are vital to our family health, to our
children’s health. The more meaningful
traditions a family has, the stronger the
family. What traditions
are holding your family together, making
your kids feel safe and secure?
Taylor designed and manages websites for
International Baptist Church Ministries and
Brenna Stull. She co-leads Mom Matters, a
Bible study group for moms. Most recently,
followed God’s prompting to plan get-away
retreats specifically designed for moms,
starting MomsAway Retreats. She is
passionate about adoption, family
traditions, and the needs of moms.
back to top
A Simple Place to Start
One great life ritual
to start today: family dinner. WebMD.com
lists some super benefits.
10 Benefits of Family Dinners
Everyone eats healthier meals.
Kids are less likely to become overweight or obese.
Kids more likely to stay away from cigarettes.
They're less likely to drink alcohol.
They won't likely try marijuana.
They're less likely to use illicit drugs.
Friends won't likely abuse prescription drugs.
School grades will be better.
You and your kids will talk more.
You'll be more likely to hear about a serious problem.
Kids will feel like you're proud of them.
There will be less stress and tension at home.
information, read the complete article at
back to top