Traditions are something that I love but not in a conventional sense. I treasure those little rituals that are passed down from generation to generation. It brings a sense of unity and closeness in the family. These family traditions revive memories that fill your heart with happiness and love.
My sister and I didn't have the luxurious kind of upbringing that many kids had at the time. Looking back, I am so glad we didn't have luxuries because it helped us to stay sensible and grounded. The family traditions we had were very simple but they helped in defining my values as a person. What I remember is that we had tremendous love and closeness which still remains, with God's love and grace.
Here are some family traditions that I have brought into mine. These come from those special moments that my parents created for my sister and I while we were growing up.
1. Reading a bedtime story every night
Unlike myself, my parents never ever gave me a feeling that they have no time to spend for their children. Now I realize how precious that was. My parents spent most of their time with us and that itself was a solid foundation that we built on over the years. One of my favorite family rituals was to get a favorite book and get Daddy to read it out every night and we would discuss the story and what I learned from it. Sometimes, we would talk about a particular word and how it can be used in different contexts.
It is only this month that I started introducing Adi to 'Fairy Tales' and he is enjoying it and he had makes me mimic characters and I love this tradition we have together. We laugh a lot, we tease each other and we mimic characters and Adi mimics me!!! It's so much fun.
My father loved reading books. As a young boy, he used to walk for several kilometres before he could find a local newspaper reading room where he would read English newspapers (usually tattered) and some old magazines. He loved Sundays because he could read and explore another world. When he first got a job, he began reading more seriously and he taught me to read some of the finest English classics at a very young age. I became a serious, passionate reader thanks to my dad.
2. Knowing how to select the right books
What I love is Dad taught me how to choose my own books. By the time I was seven, I had started choosing books to read on my own and he never interfered. We would go to book stores together and come back loaded with paper bags full of books. How i miss those wonderful, golden moments with my Dad.
Right from the time Adi was about three years old, I began doing the same with him. As a kid, Adi loved me to read out stories for him. Thanks to the diverse and very realistic range of books by Tulika Publishers, Adi became familiar first with Indian stories and I was very keen that he should enjoy and be able to relate to it. We are Indians and I want him to explore the multiplicity that underlies the Indian identity through interesting and relevant books.
And the best part was, I taught him how to choose the right kind of books to read. So now, when we go to a book shop, I trust his judgment about the books that he chooses to read. Many moms interfere in such selection but I've always taken pride in letting Adi choose and decide what he wants. As long as it enhances his enjoyment and learning, its perfectly fine with me.
3. Praying together
Prayer was always a part of my life. I learned mantras by listening to my parents prayers' every morning and evening. Adi loves to say his goodnight prayer. He prays to God and updates God as well about the day he had. He asks for blessings and says grace and peace to all at the end. Adi also knows to chant mantras from the time he was three years old. He learned by listening to my mother and he would repeat after her. Now, I make him chant the mantras preferably in the mornings before he rushes off to school.
4. "Talk Time"
My parents always had "talk time" with us. It was that time when we could talk about anything without fear of being scolded, judged or anything of the sort. It meant that we could share worries or even say a complaint about parents themselves if we felt hurt by something so that we could sort it out h. With Adi too, I have my 'talk time' and that is an exclusive deal. Whatever he tells me is kept a secret and not discussed again unless he wants me to discuss it. I listen to him and I don't offer solutions or advice unless he asks me for it. It never ceases to surprise me how passionate, perceptive and mature his approach is. Adi almost always knows the right course of action. He is very aware about certain areas that he needs to improve on and he talks about it openly in our "talk time."
5. Do Chores with team spirit
I always tell Adi: "We are hard working people. So it means you have to hard to grow new strengths. Don't think you have everything. When you think so, you limit yourself and your ability. You have to help me do stuff because we are a team, right?"
And Adi does pitch in. always helps with chores like going to the shop in our society and buying the little emergency provisions on his own. He takes a little note of items and the money and comes back to deliver this at home. He is very proud when he completes a chore well. I always say, "Well done, Adi. I am proud of you managing it on your own." He helps me fold clothes, little chores in the house and does it cheerfully.
But Adi doesn't like cleaning up after playing with toys:)
Tell me about your special family traditions that you grew up with or created on your own.