What Joy Looks Like

Did you know that Psychologists have linked family tradition and routine family rituals to overall family happiness, emotional well-being, lower anxiety levels, higher academic success and higher marriage satisfaction?  Cause they have… Family Traditions are what joy looks like.

As a kid my family moved a lot.  With all the moving from State to State, the one constant we ten kids held on to was our family traditions – traditions became something we could count on to stay the same even when everything else around us was constantly changing…traditions represent a sense of comfort and joy for us. And as each of us in my family grew up and went on to have our own families, we find that we still cling to our family traditions as a huge source of comfort and joy and something we can always depend on. 

October through December is always full of traditions, and this weekend was spent doing one of them.  Every year from the time my own kids were very little, we gather everyone in the extended family together and we all go to Rowley’s Red Barn down in Santaquin Utah to start the day with warm donuts and fresh cider for breakfast. Then we load onto the tractor wagons and we ride out to the pumpkin patch where we pick out our pumpkins. They also have all kinds of fun rides, a petting zoo, a zip line, and a corn maze. We spend the morning at the barn and then we head to the nearby Sourdough Sandwich shop for their Turkey BLTA sandwich on freshly baked sourdough bread. DELICIOUS!  We love this tradition and we look forward to it every year.  And it is so exciting to be introducing my own grandchildren to this amazing family tradition and see the joy it brings into their life as well….

Family traditions are SO important!  I know that as a parent there are times you may feel that a tradition is more of a burden that’s not worth the effort, or that it won’t hurt to skip your tradition just this once, but I’m here to tell you that IT IS WORTH IT and IT WILL hurt to skip it!  Kids need the consistency. They need that feeling of comfort from having things they can count on when everything else in their lives is constantly changing. They need that source of comfort and joy they can depend on.

Traditions don’t have to be expensive – my favorite family traditions are all either free or very inexpensive – because traditions aren’t about doing elaborate things.  Traditions are about doing small things that help bring you together and then honoring those traditions year after year.

As you head into the next three months of holiday season it’s a perfect time to make sure you are honoring past family traditions.  And just for fun, try starting a new tradition or two this season to add to your repertoire of joy!  More family traditions equal more happiness, more well-being, more success, more satisfaction, more comfort, MORE JOY!!!

Here’s what joy looked like for me this weekend:

Have a great Monday everyone!

~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )

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