the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.
Everybody has at least one. Whether it’s picking out the Christmas tree as a family or having your favorite cake every year for your birthday, you have a tradition. For most Christians, Easter is no exception.
Growing up, traditionally Easter for my family meant dressing up in our best outfits just to go to a church that we either
1. Never attended before or
2. Hadn’t stepped foot in all year
But as for me and my house, we will not walk in cycles of dysfunction just because it’s comfortable or familiar. We do attend church (almost) every Sunday, our children are too old to go Easter egg hunting (I don’t know what that has to do with Easter anyway), and in regards to relatives, you have to offer my children more than just food, gossip, poverty mindsets and an ill way of speaking, being and thinking for me to have them around you. Sorry, not sorry. We’re breaking cycles over here.
See, what I’ve learned is that when you force your children and even yourself, into “traditional activities” that aren’t beneficial just for the sake of upholding tradition, you’re doing a disservice to everyone involved. Let me break it down (watch your toes). If you have the type of family who invests a generational freedom/wealth mindset into you and your children, then traditions are valuable and necessary. But if that’s not your story and all they can offer is a generational bondage mindset, then break the cycle and stop trying to please everybody.
After all, what we don’t get through our children get stuck in. So why do people keep up with and pass along toxic traditions?
1. They’re unaware– awareness and perspective are amazing tools. Unfortunately, not all of us see toxicity the same way. Some people don’t see anything wrong with what they are doing, saying and/or allowing simply because it’s comfortable, familiar and normalized. But identification precedes transformation. You can’t fix what you can’t or won’t identify.
2. They need a sense of belonging– this is a basic need of any human, even when the situation is toxic. If there’s no other sense of belonging, we often choose to function in dysfunction for the sake of feeling loved, valued and like we belong.
3. They’ve been taught that “family is family”– Yes it is, but my motto is I can love you from a distance. Especially when you bring negative energy with you. From a biblical perspective, the only people I’m obligated to are my spouse, children, and parents anyway. And being all the real, God only called us to honor our parents.
God knows I have. Up until about 10 years ago, I found myself in all 3. As a child, I didn’t have control over what I participated in, and even as a young adult, I was just doing what was familiar and expected of me. But as my family and my wisdom grew, I stopped doing what people expected of me and started doing what was in all of our best interest.
So the next time a family tradition or gathering pops up, take a minute to ask yourself these questions:
Is the environment I’m about to step into, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy?
Will the people who’ll be there add value to my life and the lives of my children?
Am I going because I want to or because I’m expected to?
Only you can determine how much weight the answers to these questions carry in your life. No one else. It’s time we start breaking cycles over our lives and the lives of our children.
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