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Preschool Education Articles

Family traditions...Folklore...Familylore
by Mary Dooley Burns with Caryl Wogenson



Stories passed down from generation to generation make up your family's special folklore. Perhaps it's difficult to be sure what is fact or fantasy - family lore is probably a combination. The importance is not it's authenticity, but it's role in giving your family and you an identity.

A child's individuality grows in many ways, but an emphasis on heritage is one of the best. When children understand where they come from, they will have a much better idea of where they want to go. Each time you continue a family custom or resurrect an ethnic recipe or use the language from generations past, children are getting a stronger sense of themselves.

In families with a diverse heritage, custom from each tradition can be blended and celebrated with a few new ones added too.

Family Traditions:

  • Help families feel unique
  • Promote feelings of kinship
  • Affirm and validate our place in our own family

Family Traditions and patterns carry messages of family expectations and codes of conduct passed down from generation to generation. 'Traditions also spell out tolerances or intolerances of the family system - largely based upon how strongly the family traditions are upheld!

Reevaluating family traditions provides an opportunity to look at traditional habits and activities which bring a sense of both history and joy together. Familylore provides a way to "walk" in familiar and comfortable moments together with thanksgiving and warm memories.

Which Values Are Cherished and Acted on in Your Family?

  • _ time together as a family
  • _ achievement in chosen field
  • _ learning new skills
  • _ extended family
  • _ money enough for enjoyment
  • _ sharing possessions
  • _ conserving resources
  • _ fun and play
  • _ time with friends

What traditions do you already have and what new traditions do you want to create around these events?

Traditional holidays: Christmas/Hanukah, Easter/Passover, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Valentines Day, St. Patrick's Day.

Private holidays: birthdays, anniversaries, baptism, confirmation, bar/teas mitzvah, graduation, weddings, funerals, births.

Other: vacations, mealtimes, bedtimes, family play, when someone is ill, extended family gatherings, first day of school, re-locating, promotions.


Permission is granted by Children Youth and Family Consortium Electronic Clearinghouse for reprint.



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