In general, family traditions are wonderful. They're fun, memorable events, as long as you remember that not every tradition is right for every family member. Just as most moms and daughters wouldn't be thrilled about annual tickets to see a monster truck show, fathers and sons aren't usually counting down the days to attend a sewing class with the girls. Of course, group family traditions are important, but just like moms, daughters and dads, sons need activities that are unique to their likes and interests. Some sons might look forward to a regular trip to the local drive-in hamburger joint with Dad after a football game, or they may enjoy a yearly hiking trip through the Adirondacks with a sibling. These special times will be cherished for many years to come, and who knows, your sons might even one day pass these traditions on to children of their own!
Traditions can be held weekly, monthly or annually -- on the same exact date every year or celebrated spontaneously whenever the mood strikes. All that matters is spending time together and enjoying each other's company. If there's a young man in your life that you'd like to spend more time with, go ahead and start a tradition.
Check out the next page to learn how the two of you can make a tradition out of catering to his mother (trust us; he'll want to do it).
Cook Mother's Day Breakfast
There's only one day a year where it's practically required that every family member take time to thank Mom for all her love and support. A great way to let the most important matriarch in your life know how much you care is by helping your son cook Mother's Day breakfast. Add a little cheese to scrambled eggs, toast some bread and pour a glass of fresh orange juice for a specially-made breakfast in bed. If you find cooking to be a challenge, simply toast frozen waffles and cut fresh fruit instead. Year after year, mix up the menu with your son, and have fun learning new dishes to serve Mom on the morning of her special day. As a finishing touch, pick her favorite flowers, like roses, tulips and daisies, and arrange them on the table in a pretty vase.
Attend a Sporting Event
If you and your son are both sports fanatics, why not attend a special sporting event together? It doesn't matter if it's a high school tennis match or a Major League Baseball game, the two of you will undoubtedly have fun cheering on your favorite team.
If you can't make a game, don't worry about it. Family traditions don't have to be big events, and you don't have to spend a lot of money. In fact, you don't even need to leave the house if you don't want to. It's simply important to "create meaningful family rituals that bond you together, give your kids a sense of belonging and make them feel valued," says Joanne Stern, Ph.D. [Psychology Today]. Merely tossing a football or baseball in the yard with a father figure or another family member is a simple activity that many sons will relish during childhood and enjoy just as much when they're adults, too.
Volunteer at a Thanksgiving Food Drive
Thanksgiving is a holiday that many of us spend eating copious amounts of food while sitting in front of the TV. While it's certainly a time to relax, eat and be merry with friends and family, this holiday is also an opportunity to reflect and be grateful for what you have and recognize that others may not be so fortunate. Get involved and volunteer with a local Thanksgiving food drive, and bring your son along to help.
This one-day event offers rewarding work for all age levels within a family unit, making it a great opportunity to bond with each other while also helping people in need. Not only will you spend quality time with your son, but the experience of working with a charitable organization will help him appreciate all he has and could even cause him to develop a few new skills, too. So this year, instead of lounging on the couch in your sweatpants after eating too much turkey, volunteer with your son at a food drive and make it an annual Thanksgiving tradition.
Of course, if the soup kitchens have enough volunteers on Thanksgiving, there are another 364 days in the year you can help. Teaching your son the importance of charity is a lesson that can be learned in any season.
Organize an Annual Camping Trip
Sons often have fun participating in outdoor activities, so why not make pitching a tent with your kid a family tradition? Schedule a camping trip with your son at a new campsite every fall, and explore the area while fishing in local creeks and streams, hunting game and hiking through the wilderness. Ditch your cell phones and computers, and chat over a campfire while grilling your catch of the day. Whatever you do, don't forget to bring graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows to make plenty of ooey-gooey s'mores -- no camping trip is complete without them!
Start a Holiday Mealtime Tradition
Helping in the kitchen is a good all year, but around the holidays, it's especially important. Young sons can decorate cookies for friends and family, and older boys can cut the turkey or ham before holiday dinner parties. Your kids can aid Mom in the kitchen by cooking a side dish, like sweet potato pie, or hand-washing the china after a big meal -- a tedious task that the cook doesn't always have time to do.
Regardless if you and your son are camping, volunteering at a local food bank or helping mom in the kitchen, starting (and keeping) a family tradition with your boy is one of the most important things you'll ever do. The two of you will make memories that you'll both cherish for the rest of your lives.
What are good traditions for families during the summer? Read about 5 summertime family traditions at HowStuffWorks.
More Great Links
- Culinary. "Creating Holiday Mealtime Traditions." (Aug. 4, 2011)
- Haythorn, Inez. "Creating Family Traditions." Adoption. 2002. (Aug. 3, 2011) http://library.adoption.com/articles/creating-family-traditions.html
- Stern, Joanne. "Creating Everyday Rituals that are Meaningful to You and Your Family." Psychology Today. Nov. 29, 2010. (Aug. 16, 2011) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/parenting-is-contact-sport/201011/creating-everyday-rituals-are-meanigful-your-family
- Summers, Nicole. "The Importance of Family Traditions." Orlando Family Magazine. (Aug. 4, 2011)
- United Way. "Volunteer as a Family." (Aug. 16, 2011) http://liveunited.org/take-action/volunteer-as-a-family
- Yardley, Jonathan. "Ties That Bind at Mealtime." The Washington Post. Aug. 30, 2005. (Aug. 16, 2011) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/29/AR2005082901798.html