"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
November 10, 2015
Traditions that Bind and Bless Families
by Daryl Hoole

At the close of an especially enjoyable day with our family some years ago, ten-year-old Elaine captured the mood by exclaiming, “This has been such a fun day. Let’s do this day over again!” And we did, the next year. That’s how a tradition is born.

Correct traditions have a lot to do with keeping families anchored and strong. Traditions give children roots in the past and hope for the future. Traditions add color and depth to family living. Traditions make memories.

Traditional events or activities may seem fairly insignificant standing alone, but put together and enjoyed time after time, they spell solidarity in family life. Blessed is the home that is rich in them.

Traditions can range from A to Z, and there seems to be no limit to the number a family can participate in. They don’t have to be spectacular to be meaningful. They can vary from something as simple as a bedtime story each night or a bright red “You Are Special” plate on the table for someone’s birthday to an involved four-generation family reunion attended by 250 people.

They can be centered around holidays and special occasions or for no reason at all, but just to be together.

Some family traditions could include making brownies on Sunday evenings, hiking and camping in the mountains, playing and picnicking on the beach, Mom and Dad going on a date every Friday night, playing games such as dominos and Scrabble, ordering Chinese take-out on New Year’s Eve, singing around the piano, bicycling together, enjoying winter sports such as skiing and ice skating, reading stories by the Christmas tree in December, filling and opening time capsules every five years, making pizzas, hunting for Easter eggs, watching fireworks on the 4th of July, going to ball games, eating three kinds of pie on Thanksgiving, picking berries and making jam, baking heart-shaped cookies and delivering them to special people on Valentine’s Day.

They can focus on reading daily from the Book of Mormon, choosing your favorite food for your birthday dinner, making snowmen in January, eating French Toast at Grandma’s house, compiling scrapbooks or digital photo albums, going shopping for school clothes in August, taking part in the nativity program on Christmas Eve, watching a DVD and eating popcorn at home on a Saturday night, going swimming, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire, having family night every Monday, and countless others.

Traditions can be more than fun; they can represent more than good times and memorable occasions for families. They can do more than bind several generations; they can bind families eternally.

And traditions can be for good or evil, for strength or weakness, for exaltation or damnation. This no more evident than among the Nephites and Lamanites as recorded in the Book of Mormon.

An example of righteous traditions being passed down through generations is found in Alma 23:5-7 as follows:

And thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord, yea, thousands were brought to believe in the traditions of the Nephites; and they were taught from records and prophecies which were handed down even to the present time... [A]s the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall way. For they became a righteous people.

Traditions are as many and as fun and meaningful as you make them. However, one tradition transcends them all. Joshua said it best when he declared: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

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About Daryl Hoole

A native of Salt Lake City, Daryl Hoole has written and lectured extensively on home management and family living. She has served on the ward, stake, regional, and general levels of the Church. It has also been her privilege to fulfill three missions -- once to the Netherlands when she was young and single; another time as companion to her husband as he presided over the Netherlands Amsterdam Mission; and the third time with two other senior couples as Asia Area Welfare/Humanitarian Administrators, headquartered in Hong Kong.

She and her husband Hank and are the parents of eight living children, the grandparents of thirty-six, and the great-grandparents of a rapidly increasing number.

Her website is www.theartofhomemaking.com.

She currently serves in the Salt Lake Temple as a sealing assistant.

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