Embed on your children a tradition they’ll remember
I have come to realize the importance of tradition for children. I believe cultural tradition in Western countries has been eroded to the point where it is hard to pin point today what it means to be a citizen of any country. As our countries populations have increased in their diversity what it means to be a citizen of any particular place is harder to say.
Wherever you are reading this post from one thing as children and as adults we depend on is an identity. I am American, I am Canadian, I am English and so on. They give meaning to what it means to be. They give guidance to individuals. Having a strong sense of who you are as a people I believe makes individuals stronger, able to function better in society and not feel so isolated and alone.
I am all for multiculturalism which exists heavily now in most western countries but I believe a return to having an identity is needed for our children. Inviting peoples from other parts and walks of life can improve and broaden ourselves.
My own experience
I grew up at a time when multi culture was being pushed heavily by everyone from family, to teachers to the message we received from the government. I believe it was a positive for me in the sense that I believe I am an open-minded person to experiencing other ways of doing things which you find in other cultures.
What I have come to learn during my experience with another culture is that although we may have some differences in how we do things, what we believe for the most part people regardless of their culture want love, security and acceptance. We are all human in the end.
I believed in being a citizen of a multicultural country growing up but it left a sense of something missing from my life. I still keep pushing on with the idea of being a good citizen and accepting it. If I was to speak up and say I wanted to be acknowledged for being also what my ancestors were it might be mistaken as me being wrong and backwards. I pray that when tested I will be able to stand up and be as I am without regret or shame.
Today the national narrative is multiculturalism but for me personally I can not relate to it. I only know of two cultures now. The others I know nothing about. How am I supposed to be multicultural when I know nothing about the other cultures that exist in my country?
No one ever stood up and said that for their own children when I was growing up. Our children will need to know WHO THEY ARE. If you are of European, African, Latin, Middle East, Asia or any other background that should be encouraged and taught without remorse. We all have interesting and beautiful stories from other cultures. They need to be shared with our children. If you are a religious family this needs to be shared with your children.
I hope I am making sense. I am not saying its acceptable to be racist or have our children believe they are better than other groups of people. Instead, it is acknowledging our own uniqueness, helping it grows as an identity in our children and defending it against any messages or people who threaten it.
Importance upon reflextion
Only recently have I learned of this importance, to teach my own children what it means to be of their origins. They have a multitude of backgrounds which I love. Still, one thing I have not been doing until recently is what inspired me to write this post, is singing.
You see, I am not great at singing although I do enjoy it. I have extended family members that are musical. I even played the flute for a few years in middle school till high school.
I recall my grandmother specifically who loved to sing. She was in the church choir for many years. Christmas, birthdays, any occasion she would sing along to songs. She sang. That to me is a tradition. It gives me a sense of who I am and where I came from.
There is nothing wrong with multiculturalism. But it does not give me or my children this sense of being who they are.
As a result I have started singing, specifically to Christmas songs I know she used to sign along to.
Never too late
If you do not have any such traditions or connections to who your family and culture are, then pick something(s) you know to be true and start a new tradition for you and your children.
Until recently people were only able to connect to their cultural identity through story telling, songs, music and cultural artifacts that helped tell them of their history.
Today children including mine are exposed to a narrow-minded and in my opinion shallow history most of which does not speak to their own cultural histories. With multiculturalism in our societies I believe they are less likely to receive today a real understanding of who they are, where they came from and what they can become.
I believe now that had I a strong sense of who I was, where I came from and who I could be, I would have been become a stronger individual than I am today.
I hear about it all the time, successful people know who they are while those with less success do not have this strong foundation.
One day they will be gone
My children are growing up so fast as all children do. Before I know it they will be out of the house and living their own lives.
I want for my children to know who they are, to not have to question it within themselves when they are grown up.
If I fail in this then they will spend time and energy trying to figure it out for themselves in a world I believe is eager to provide an example that may not be best for them.
Of course, they may reject the understanding of who they are when adults but from my understanding most adults treasure the sense of who they are and where they came from.
Having even the smallest of traditions like singing in a family unit of songs that mean something and connect us to our past, like my grandmother did can be a way to help teach our children about who they are, moving forward in their lives, in an ever multicultural, one way of being kinda of world that appears to me to becoming ever more here to stay.
It is up to each of us as parents to decide what we want for our children to remember and value. Later in their lives they may look back on times you did something like my grandmother did with singing.
It is something that will stay with me my entire life and give me a sense of who I am and where I came from.
Do you agree or not agree? Please share with a comment below.
Thanks and have a great day!
Proud papa of two,