This past week, Ellie had a culture project at school. Her assignment was to present a visual aide sharing her family, it’s heritage, holidays we celebrate and her favorite traditions. A little perplexed at the requirements, but none the less I am happy she is learning presentation and speech skills this early in her education. Patrick and I oversaw her create a poster board with pictures and helped her practice her presentation. Sitting back and watching her practice, I felt a mix of emotions. On one hand I felt proud – proud to see my girl brave any fears of talking in front of people, and the learning the steps of a school project from start to finish. The latter, I felt a little guilty. Guilty that we hadn’t shared the knowledge needed for this project, or further – talked more on the importance of our family on a continual basis. She knows our family – it’s all she knew for the first 4 years of her life before pre-school came into play. She was with me all day, every day. Now that she’s growing up – making friends, learning the different cultures and backgrounds – it leaves me wanting to instill a deeper understanding of where she comes from. I want both my children to learn the value of family and our heritage. Tho I am adopted, I’ve always considered my adoptive mom and her family my own. My childhood taught me the importance of family and the traditions passed from one generation to the next.
You guessed it, she passed her presentation with flying colors. I knew she would. The guilt still sits tho, so I’ve set out a few ways to further instill the importance of family and culture moving forward. Hopefully this plan to action will drive out any unknown, deepen our relationships and replace any of that mom guilt with confidence.
Plan more family days –
For the past several months, we’ve been taking Saturdays to spend time as a family. Wether that be a trip to the ice rink, getting ice cream, or going someplace to burn off some energy. It really has brought us together as a family and allowed more opportunity to get to know more of each other. Yes, we are always together, being that we live in the same household and carry on with our everyday tasks of school and work. There are times tho, where communication is distant. We may be physically present, but not entirely in the now. Taking this time together on Saturdays puts a focus on each other and really brings to light the traits of our character. I’ve seen bravery, persistence, and confidence – I’ve learned Jonah is a bit of perfectionist, and escalator rides are the coolest. Ellie is a talker, loves to share every bit of story detail and has reminded me dreams are achievable when you move past failure.
Initiate more conversations –
The kids really do enjoy hearing those stories of ‘the good ol’ days’. It’s always fun to hear the giggles and laugh along as we relive the ‘what was it like when ___”. They think it’s funny to hear we didn’t have cell phones while growing up, much less devices to keep us entertained. And searching the toy aisle for the newest toy wasn’t always in Target, it was scrolling thru a Sunday paper ToysRUs add. On a deeper level tho, initiating the talk on my adoption, their birth stories, and who’s who in our family lays a foundation of understanding. I think that initiating more conversations of what was, helps establish an awareness of what is. More so, my hope is that in sharing more of the experiences that have made us into who we are – they’ll in turn, place a higher value on heritage and its importance.
Establish new traditions –
Traditions are important in building strong family relationships between generations. And being part of the special things our family does encourages a sense of belonging. I of course desire that security for my children. I’ll continue our sugar cookie bake and annual lasagna meal each Christmas knowing that’s what we always do. Trips to the beach will forever hold strong in my children’s Summer memories. All that said – I plan to set new traditions. Write new stories and create new experiences – ones that provide an opportunity to ground their beliefs and create connections over time.
What about you? What have you put into practice to deepen your (or your children’s) value of family? Or if you start implementing any of these tips, definitely comment below and let me know! I think finding ways in our lives to discuss – and live – what is important is a step in the right direction.
Thank you for reading!