Opinion: Family traditions, have you got ’em?

by Mayowa Ogundele

How come lots of people cozy up to people who attend or move in the same religious circles as they do? Or have you never been extra nice to a stranger just because you found out they are members of your church?

As a young, unmarried and hopeless romantic; I cannot but continue in my quest to discover the ‘happily ever after’ world. I want life to be a red of ever-scenting roses that become fresher than they were the day before.

No, I’m not talking about M-for-Marriage, at least not today. I’m talking about F-for-Family and T-for-Tradition. Most especially the T!

TRADITION! Oh that word is everywhere! Yes I agree…

It’s in the society, religious groups, corporate societies – everywhere! Some people even loathe the word and all it stands for, because over time it has (in some cases) hindered liberty, flexibility and most often than not, creativity.

But today is not the day to talk about those traditions the world can definitely do without! Let’s talk about traditions we need to encourage; family traditions!

In my few days on Earth, mostly spent in Nigeria… I have seen and heard of so many family issues. All sorts of anomalies ripping the average home apart. If it’s not Daddy vs. Mummy, it’s probably a parent vs. a child or child vs. child. There’s always one issue or the other. So much unhappiness and strife going on and I just keep wondering why.  Where is the love?

Now let’s consider something I thought about… How is it possible that some folks would insist on marrying people from their ethnic group? How come lots of people cozy up to people who attend or move in the same religious circles as they do? Or have you never been extra nice to a stranger just because you found out they are members of your church?

All the answers I can think of in response to these questions are wrapped up in the word tradition. Those events, ideas, beliefs, mannerisms etc. peculiar to a group of people irrespective of the geographical location of its members. Tradition in my own words!

So if tradition create such a bond that transcends time and place, wouldn’t you agree with me that parents should start taking advantage of this time-defying reality? I think it’s time we use what we have (or can have) to get what we want. Happily ever after!

Most Nigerian families do not have their own customized tradition. Many a times, you only find couples having their own tradition and they forget to re-create such for their family as a whole.

If those things (activities) you do with your spouse help to keep the sparks flying for years on end, then your family needs traditions that would keep it together come rain or shine.

You need to find those activities, mannerisms, beliefs, actions that would form the bedrock of your family’s foundation and help create a bond that cannot be broken by misunderstanding, sibling rivalry, societal pressures… and whatever evil thing that separates people.

Wondering how you would get this thing started? Trust me, you don’t need to call a family meeting over it because building family traditions lies in the simple things you do … regularly. For some people it is eating dinner together!

In my family, I have observed that whenever anyone of us attains a major milestone, we all gather to celebrate one way or the other. We have ice-cream on our birthdays! Once upon a time, we ate pounded-yam every Sunday! We have family devotions everyday including Sunday (rolling my eyes)! We always fellowship together on New Year’s Eve!

I know a family that hosts Christmas parties for friends and family every year. At trip to the public places in town shows that lots of families hang-out after church every Sunday and so on…

However, it is usually easier to maintain a family tradition when the kids are younger and have to go wherever mummy and daddy go, literally; but there is a need to establish traditions that are of high sentimental value so that as the kids grow older and become more independent; they would appreciate such traditions and carry them on.

Tradition creates bonds and memories.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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