By: Jayme Beal
“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” -Mother Theresa
When I meet with families in counseling one of my first questions I ask each family member is, “What is your favorite thing about your family? or “What is your favorite thing to do with your family?” If you were to ask your family members these questions, what would they say?
A family ritual is an act done within the family that is repeatable and meaningful. Family rituals are something that every member looks forward to and can increase relationship satisfaction and positive interactions within the family.
When we create family rituals, we cultivate a sense of identity, sense of belonging, and values. It sends a message of, “this is our family, and this is what we do.” Not only do they help make memories with those we love, they help us in our social and emotional development. Family rituals offer stability to all members of the family especially in times of stress and changes.
When I think of my own family, a family ritual that comes to mind is lunch after Church on Sundays at my mom and step dad’s house. It is something that has been constant in my life, even when there were times when my world felt turned upside down and I felt all alone or I just had a stressful week. No matter what happens I know my family will be getting together on Sundays and I can just be me.
Family rituals whether big or small, are important. The most wonderful thing about them is that you can create your own, because each family differs in their interest, needs, and wants. Find a way for your family to express how much everyone means to each other. Maybe it’s the way you celebrate birthdays, go to bed at night, or what and when you will do a family activity. Keep in mind that routines and rituals differ from each other.