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family traditions and culture

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
a lot of things in my life are about building family culture - I want to make sure that we implant our kids with a certain culture. the basic idea, the end game is to prepare the kids to be healthy and successful adults - to be able to make a good living, to be able to form good social relationships and have their own families, be healthy and be good citizens. some of the things that we want to promote (not necessarily in this order) - a sense of jewish identity, a sense of american identity, valuing health and fitness, politeness, style, cosmopolitanism, charity, valuing education, hard work, discipline. we work hard on a lot of traditions, these include: holidays Halloween - we take Halloween seriously, we make great costumes and go out trick or tricking with a whole bunch of friends Hanuka- we make candle holders every year, and then we all light candles together every night. we invite people over for potato pancakes and donuts one night every year Passover - we always do seder - our passover is serious, usually 20-40 people, with a 2 hour seder that is very kid friendly, a lot of singing, a lot of props, playacting, etc. purim - we take the costumes seriously, and we do mishloah manot, putting together baskets of food to take to friends. this year we made kick ass costumes that included printing fabric and paper machie christmas we volunteer, as a family, for a soup kitchen thanksgiving we go to a restaurant (I have a trade show the week before and the week after) and then we deliver food for a food bank we also pick fruit 4 or 5 times a year - strawberries, blueberries, apples and cherries, at least. volunteer at a soup kitchen 4 times a year as a family have friday night dinner with company once a month, we try to invite an old person with no family nearby to each one sit down once a year as a family and decide where to allocate our charity money that year go camping twice a year do a road trip once a year have all the grandparents visit at least once year hold a huge bonfire at the beginning of the summer vacation and a huge barbecue at the end of summer vacation every year my wife and I both take part in a lot of fitness activities and make it clear to the kids that we do so, we keep most unhealthy food out of the house and make unhealthy foods into occasional treats, we have all the kids doing physical activities, and make them try different sports. we buy fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as meat and cheeses, and make our own breadstuff, both for health but also to promote the idea with out kids to eat responsibly. we keep a lot of books around the house and read extensively, and make sure the kids understand the value of books we travel with the kids, as well as having a lot of maps around the house - one is a world map that is 2 m X 2 m with stick on figures so that the kids can play with things and understand the world. we work really really hard on manners - the kids can't talk to an adult without standing up, they have to hold the door for people, they always say please and thank you, they have to cover their mouth when they sneeze cough or yawn. we make it clear that I work and make the money that pays for everything - the kids can't touch my phone or computer, and when I way I am working they can't bother me. they have visited my office, and met people I work with. they are all, even the smallest, aware of the fact that I work, my boss pays me, and I use that money to pay for the things that we need. my son has been saving money since he was 5 - he once saved every penny of his allowance and other money he made/got for 18 months to buy an ipod. we haven't given the 4 year olds allowances yet, but that will start of 5. they do have to make choices, this or that, for certain things. anyway, those are some of our family traditions and culture. I pretty much didn't inherit any of this, and made it up what do you guys do?
post #2 of 14
I'm not sure you have to be so calculating (that's a pejorative word, but I can't think of a neutral one). My father was strong and (mostly) silent, and I learnt by following him, not by listening to him tell me what to do.

I'd also add that strong influences outside the family are good, for distance and perspective - piano teacher, family friend - whatever - someone who isn't family but who is close.

Unfortunately, nowadays, in most communities, school teachers aren't likely to interact with pupils outside of school. And most kids would never confide in a teacher in school.

I'm not sure you can prevent a child going off the rails - just give them the tools to keep a sense of perspective when they do. If my mother knew what I got up to at college, she'd have been scared shitless.
post #3 of 14
Globe, thats really cool man. I like that you guys seem very charitable, my wife and I don't really contribute much charitably, I'd like to do stuff like that once the kids get a little older so they know how lucky they are.

As far as family traditions, I'd like my wife to take over Christmas Eve soon. We'll first have to do it at my mom's, but once we get a bigger place, we'll host it.
post #4 of 14
I'll try to think of some more, but as a child with parents who did a lot of the above... here are a few I also thought were good growing up. - as a kid, we never ate our birthday cakes. we had a seperate non-decorated cake to eat and after birthdays went to visit a children's hospital as a family to give the cake to a sick kid / orphan for their birthday. - my parents always expected me to be responsible. They asked where I was going and such but always trusted me and I never wanted to break it. They made it clear, rather phone us at 1am and wake us up just to let us know you're staying out for the night... those kind of things. They gave me a copy of their credit card and I've only ever used it for paying for basics like gas or groceries or whatever. money - I rarely was told I couln't buy something, but I also never asked for anything I wouldn't have bought if it were my own money. culturally - we communicated and were 'reasonable', ie we could disagree but it never came to shouting, hitting, throwing things, etc. If your kid throws a tantrum, stick them in the corner and let them figure out how to calm themselves down. travel - we used to go camping as a family in the summers and it helped not only to have us spend time together as a group to bond but also a sense of the world outside our city. We got to see different parts of the world (also through more extensive travels involving flights) as well as meet people of different cultures. I think it's extremely important for kids to get out into the bigger world and interact with people of different races, cultures, social statuses, etc as well as geographically getting out there. punishment - as a kid we got a bit of a hiding... I think corporal punishment is actually a good thing at a very young age but around 5 years or so once they understand things better it's better to switch to more shame/disappointment type tactics then fear of physical threat. this translates to 'doing a good job' because you don't want to dissapoint your boss, not because they're going to yell at you. we never did these things but some ideas: organizing activities on your street like kids playing ball-hockey (hey it's Canada), or a yearly summer street BBQ going to community events like festivals (carabana, food festivals, etc) don't buy them any sort of gaming system and limit the tv hours do get them involved in hobbies so they can learn about teamwork, be physically active, etc. If they're not sports orientated, look into things like cooking. speaking of cooking, get them interested in food. it's important for their health. I grew up cooking with mom in the kitchen, now I read every label, I was very self-sufficient at University, I regularly cook dinner parties, etc. I will say this, you've GOT to do this stuff when they're young. Around 4-6years is when it'll stick. once they're 9-10 or older pushing etiquette stuff will be met with rebellion.
post #5 of 14
Globetrotter, sounds like you're doing an excellent job. A lot of what you mentioned reminds me of my own childhood, and I can tell you that all those little things really end up meaning a lot in the long run; it's sort of what it's all about.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Master-Classter View Post

- as a kid, we never ate our birthday cakes. we had a seperate non-decorated cake to eat and after birthdays went to visit a children's hospital as a family to give the cake to a sick kid / orphan for their birthday.
-.

this is cool. maybe we'll adopt this.


NYR - we snuck into the whole charity thing, I tried a soup kitchen once and really enjoyed it and then started bringing my family. I was doing really poorly a few years ago money wise, and then when things started getting better, we started to give a bit to charity, and let it get a little more every year. we feel its very good for the kids.
post #7 of 14
My Dad made it a point to make us give the daily greeting at every instance/meeting with him, eg good evening etc, never hi or hello We played card games as a family almost every night after he got home from work, which is something I am beginning to appreciate more as an adult. My father would also make us write 2 stories (in a book) from the newspaper everyday. 1 would be an international story and the other would be local. As with master-class, my parents were very liberal when it came to letting us go out, as long as I told them where I was going. My mother always re-iterated that we were never better than anyone and would let us interact with everyone regardless of race,social class or economic standing a lot others i cant remember right now
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by austerlitz View Post
My Dad made it a point to make us give the daily greeting at every instance/meeting with him, eg good evening etc, never hi or hello

We played card games as a family almost every night after he got home from work, which is something I am beginning to appreciate more as an adult.

My father would also make us write 2 stories (in a book) from the newspaper everyday. 1 would be an international story and the other would be local.

As with master-class, my parents were very liberal when it came to letting us go out, as long as I told them where I was going.

My mother always re-iterated that we were never better than anyone and would let us interact with everyone regardless of race,social class or economic standing

a lot others i cant remember right now


these are great - please keep them coming people!
post #9 of 14
whad?! y'all just raised yourselves?
post #10 of 14
Great topic!

We will at least carry-on our own family traditions with our son.

Mark Lunar New Year with a family meal and no throwing-out any rubbish for the entire period of Tet
Have an Ausie beer on Australia Day and a Guinness on St. Pat's (or food, for the sub-16 year olds)
Attend the Anzac Day dawn service whenever possible
A 'boys only' camping trip once a year
Regular family vacations
Do volunteer work as a family

I hope to build the list as we think of more things and start some new traditions.
post #11 of 14
I have no family, but if I ever adopt, I might like to do some of this cool shit with a kid.
post #12 of 14
With my parents and brother, we never buy each other gifts for birthdays, Christmas, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc.

Instead we just go out to eat as a family to a nice place or someone buys the ingrediants (usually me) so my mom can cook a nice dinner.
post #13 of 14
Globetrotter I like your approach. Glad your giving your kids a good lesson on their American and Jewish background. Makes me cringe when I see people (and particularly young girls) cross over into certain religion(s) and sects that are completely foreign to them only because they were never brought up to belong to something. When they hit 18,19 or 20 they then find a gap in their lives and usually become vulnerable to the first sweet talking idiot who first charms them and then instills his beliefs.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Star View Post
Globetrotter I like your approach. Glad your giving your kids a good lesson on their American and Jewish background. Makes me cringe when I see people (and particularly young girls) cross over into certain religion(s) and sects that are completely foreign to them only because they were never brought up to belong to something. When they hit 18,19 or 20 they then find a gap in their lives and usually become vulnerable to the first sweet talking idiot who first charms them and then instills his beliefs.


thanks
that is exactly the way I see it - if you give the kids a reasonable understanding of their culture, they don't have to spend any time looking for a culture when they hit that searching age, they can spend that time investing in their education and their lives as adults.
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