One of my favorite books is Raising Resilient Children: Fostering Strength, Hope, and Optimism in Your Child by Robert Brooks (http://www.drrobertbrooks.com). In fact, not just as an educator but as a father I frequently refer back to his book reflect and gain guidance. Jessica May, our school guidance counselor, last year did a presentation on the book at one of the PTO meetings. Several of my friends have this book in their homes. I also have heard Dr. Brooks speak and found him extremely entertaining.
Dr. Brooks talks about the importance of traditions in order to raise resilient children. Creating traditions and special times with our children is so important to them. Dr. Brooks is of the opinion that making certain to not miss significant events is a way parents show love.
I was reminded of this fact earlier this week when my daughters (ages 2 and 6) looked at a calendar saw it was March and started jumping up and down with excitement. It is not because they are big basketball fans and can’t wait to cheer for their favorite college teams in the March Madness Tournament or the equally important Frozen Four College Hockey Tournament. My daughters started immediately talking about how they would start thinking of ideas on how to make their Leprechaun Traps.
One of our family traditions is the night before St. Patrick’s Day we leave out traps that my daughters have made in the hope of catching a Leprechaun and getting his pot of gold. We have not caught one yet. However, Leprechauns over the years have left new books and other small items. Some years we have found chocolate golden coins.
When my daughters are in their teens, my wife and I will probably need to continue this tradition. One couple we know have daughters, two in college and one in graduate school, who share the same level of enthusiasm as my two young daughters. In fact, this holiday season we had some friend’s children call up and see if we needed babysitters over the holidays while they were home for winter break just to see they could be around little girls and be reminded of how much they enjoyed holiday traditions when they were little. I loved this too because I got out with my wife to a restaurant without talking animals on the walls.
Traditions do not always need to be tied to holidays. For example, my family always makes chocolate chip cookies to celebrate the first snow. We also get together with friends to go to the beach. In the fall, we meet up with friends to go apple picking. My entire family and friends meet up in the fall to attend the football game during homecoming weekend (my parents and their 5 children all attended the same college).
March is a particularly busy month in education. The month is also not the best in regards to weather. It typically has snow and ice on the ground. Likewise, March is often cold and dark. I have constantly heard from people over the years in places like the line at Dunkin Donuts “It’s the most difficult month.” Although, through the traditions we honor with our children we will fill our hearts with warmth and light. Traditions will not only help our children develop resiliency but us as adults too. Just think, after March one of our favorite traditions is coming; the words “Play Ball” will be said at Fenway Park: GO RED SOX!