It’s important for individuals to become both independent and autonomous in this day and age – we all know this. Particularly in Western culture, independence is perhaps one of the most important and sought after goals. We want our children to be independent at increasingly earlier ages. We want to be independent in our communities, in our careers and in our finances.
The importance of independence is something that is inherent in us all. It comes from an ideal, what psychologists call altruism – the ability to be true to ourselves by reaching our ultimate potential. No harm in this, right? Not in and of itself, but problems arise when independence is revered.
The truth is that we are all in this ‘life thing’ together. We do not exist in a vacuum, as isolated islands on this planet called earth. We are, as Steven Covey calls it, interdependent!
This learning of interdependence starts within the home. In order for our children to know (and feel) that they belong to the world, they must first know (and feel) that they belong to their family.
This is where family rituals come in. It is ritual that gives connectedness.
It is possible for a ritual to become a routine, and a routine to become a ritual. It all has to do with the significance attached to the event.
Rituals are meaningful.
Routines are that which need to be done.
It means that the morning routine can become a ritual, with parent and child bonding through conversation and symbolic action. There is no hope of this happening in my house – three of our family are just NOT morning people and are therefore grumpy, wanting to just get the jobs done and get out of the house. It shall, I am sure remain a routine forever. And there is nothing wrong with this.
The key is to choose times and events within a day, week or month that can be turned into something special for both parent and child.
This will be based on availability. A parent may decide that they are going to make afternoon tea time ritualistic because they are fatigued in the evening. Or, they may be at work until 6pm, and so choose the evening time. Maybe a parent works an evening shift, so will make the effort to have some sort of morning ritual with their child.
By making an effort with daily, weekly and seasonal rituals, we form the glue that binds families together. It is these rituals that will make the strongest memories and build traditions that may last generations. If you would like to receive a FREE e-book all about how to create your own family rituals with dozens of suggestions for all sorts of special family days (including sickness, daily, weekly and mothers and fathers day), just visit www.generationxparenting.com to download your copy immediately.
Marilynn is the author of ‘The New Parent Code”, Penguin Books, 2005, which was written for the gen x parent and their unique issues. Visit her website above to join a growing crowd of international like-minded parents.
Cynical, Creative, Conscious.