Traditions Are Worth It — Both Old and New

kids, irish, st. patrick's day, My mom was Polish, my dad is Irish. Every year on St. Patrick’s Day, my mom would help me bake big, green shamrock cookies for all the kids in my class. They were almost all Italian — but they loved the cookies. I remember feeling so cool and special on March 17th. It wasn’t my birthday, but I was still the reason for the celebratory snack. Remember, this was in an era when moms weren’t expected to make every moment special for their kids. I was proud of my heritage — though secretly, I wanted my name to end in a vowel — and, I was proud to have the kind of mom who went the extra mile. I still am. My mother is a tough act to follow, yet I try.

On Valentine’s Day this year, I secretly planned my usual big-deal, heart-shaped breakfast. Before going to bed, my daughter said, “Mom, when we wake up in the morning, will there be heart stuffed animals and candy and all the stuff you do every year?” This actually pissed me off. How dare she just expect me to bend over backward to make the morning nice? How dare she ruin my element of surprise? Then, I looked at all their expectant, hopeful faces and realized the “wow” wasn’t what makes our V-day morning special. It is the tradition they crave. The traditions I’ve passed on from my parents and those I’ve started on my own, further my kids’ sense of stability, security and family. They give them something to look forward to and something to look back on. In our crazy, ever changing, harried world, our traditions provide a moment we can all count on, and they give us something to be proud of. They do not have to be major. They just have to be consistent.

So, with that in mind, recycle some of your ancestors’ traditions and start some new ones of your own. But, be careful. One year, my sister and I got together with the kids on Rosh Hashanah because they had the day off. Since then, these two Catholic school girls have been joyfully ringing in the Jewish New Year. After all, according to all the kids, “It’s A Tradition.”

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.


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