The Role of Rituals

Many parents grew up in the 1960s or ‘70s when “Go with the flow” was the mantra. Structure was out; spontaneity was in. Sure, we shook off the bonds of conformity. But what did we replace them with?
Too often we let go of the rituals that families need, rituals that instill honor, dignity, and cooperation—and can help bind a family together regardless of its size. A ritual is a special way of doing things that’s full of meaning and is repeated over the over.
Family Signature
Taken together, these ceremonies give, at the least, something of a signature to a family and, at best, they weave a web of life that can support our kids in troubled times. They help build cohesiveness and a sense of a shared, repeated experience.
If you don’t create rituals, you’ll leave a vacuum, and today’s edgy and often vulgar pop culture will fill that vacuum with objectionable TV, music, movies, and Internet activities.
Here are some rituals you might want to try:
•    Pray, meditate, or have “quiet time” together – This is all about slowing down and relaxing together
•    Take control of your TV – Institute a “No TV on Tuesdays” rule.  Or some other night of the week on which     the tube stays silent and talking is encouraged.
•  Adopt a service project – Require all family members to get involved in at least one community project per     year and keep the family apprised on their progress.
•  Explore ethnicity - Choose one day a month to sample other cultures and cuisines.
•  Show your kids the value of regularly saving and investing. -  Set aside some money and work with them on investing in say, a mutual fund or     some individual stocks. See my website www.DrMA.com   for ideas on financial education for young people.

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