Traditions are, for many of us, the things that mark the seasons of our life. For some, the traditions are an anchor to their family line and something to be cherished and passed on. However, there’s is a fine line between traditions and indoctrinated systems. If you’ve followed me for some time, you know I speak a lot about indoctrinated systems and the detrimental effect this has on a person’s life — subliminal and purposeful in action and process. The indoctrination of a way of life is passed down seamlessly from generation to generation.
So what is the difference between a healthy tradition and being indoctrinated? It comes down to one core factor: the ability to ask questions. With traditions you can ask questions; there is freedom to express the tradition. With indoctrination no one’s questioning, not because they don’t want to but because no one notices the indoctrination; it is so subliminal that it creates a ‘normalising gaze’ (See Vital Wellbeing blog: Is Life Like The Truman Show? The Normalising Gaze’).
A tradition is defined as the following:
‘the transmission or handing down of customs, statements, beliefs, legends or information from generation to generation especially by word of mouth’
An indoctrinated system, on the other hand, is defined as follows:
‘a process of instilling ideas and attitudes. The person is expected NOT TO QUESTION or critically examine the doctrine they have learned’
Do you recognise any areas in your nuclear or extended family where indoctrination has been accepted and passed down?
The beautiful thing is that you get to choose. You get to create the traditions in your family. You can leave indoctrination behind and bring freedom and growth into your family via traditions that empower each of your loved ones. Where to begin?
To kick off your imagination here are the ‘Vital Wellbeing Top 10 Traditions for Kids!’
1) Trust yourself
We encourage our kids to trust themselves and we offer every opportunity for them to question their health and their life at any point in time. Every question they ask leads to a greater understanding about themselves and the life they are choosing to lead.
2) Get adjusted every week
Every Friday morning from 2002 (when our eldest was born) our kid/s have received a chiropractic adjustment. We have taught them about the healing power of their body, to question their life and health and acknowledge the innate intelligence that they use to ‘run’ their bodies. With clear communication within their nerve system, they know they have the ability to reach their full potential in life. In sport they call their regular adjustment ‘our natural secret weapon’
3) Home educate
We have always home educated our children. As with their health and trusting they have everything they need in order to express health, we carry that forward to their education as well. We Socratically educate which means we ask questions in order to reach conclusions and learn about people, places, events or ideas. It is a wonderful way in which to raise children with the motto ‘they have everything they need in order to learn and their learning expands when they start to ask the questions about a particular topic.’
4) Eat organic food
We have been eating organic food since 1990 …that’s a few decades now! Our children are taught to look at food and question its origin. This tradition of questioning has enabled our children to choose wisely when it comes to play dates at friends’ houses or shopping in a conventional supermarket. Because they are in close connection with their body they notice the difference processed foods make within them self especially if they haven’t chosen wisely! A nice reminder for them of the tradition we are creating.
5) Read ingredients
Since our children were young — very young — I have educated them about the ingredients. It didn’t matter if they could read or not, I would simply educate them ‘Mummy is reading the ingredients’ and I’d show them what I was reading. Our children now read the ingredients and rightly or wrongly ask others if they have read the ingredients of a particular processed food they might be about to consume! It is a great tradition to get into with kids — read it!
6) Use non chemical products to clean
We love eucalyptus organic essential oil. It is fabulous for everything — toilet cleaning, marks off walls, wiping white boards etc. It is an all round great cleaner. If you are not into doing it yourself and investigating the benefits of natural cleaning then find a retailer/wholesaler that sells the items. For me, in our kids’ cleaning buckets we have some Eco Store products. They smell yummy and leave a fresh feel in the house.
7) Look people in the eyes when you speak with them
This goes back to trust and confidence.We also feel that this is a match and mirror tradition. Our kids see us engaging with people in a way that is respectful, caring and with eye contact that is a sign that ‘I’m present to you’. As such our kids have learnt this ‘look into a person’s eyes’ tradition of communication.
8) Introduce yourself
When our kids meet someone new we have formed the tradition of introducing themselves whilst stretching their hand out to shake the person’s hand. Not many children do this, however the impression they leave people with is invaluable. When you meet someone new, taking the time to get to know them brings with it amazing opportunities as well. The impression you leave someone with about yourself lasts a lifetime. With only a short couple of minutes to make an impression when you meet someone new, it might as well be a fabulous one! This is a fun tradition to form and takes new people by surprise!
9) Say thank you
Three simple words that are so easy to say and yet many people don’t say them. We have taught the tradition of ‘saying thank you’ to anyone who contributes to our life in that moment — a shop keeper, the lolly-pop council workers who hold the signs up saying ‘stop’ or ‘go’ to direct the traffic, a check-outperson at the organic store, coaches after training or teachers after a lesson. A simple wave, a smile or the words of thank you can help to make the community you live in at that moment a lovely place to be.
10) Eat dinner together
We have established a tradition of eating dinner together. We place a lot of topics up for conversation at the table and at times we have sat there for three hours whilst we nut out a topic or present an answer to a fabulous question that is posed by one of us including the kids. The kids love the in depth thought that takes place and my husband and I love the thought of continually contributing to the kids’ learning and helping to shape the conversations already happening in their minds. Everyone helps at dinner from preparation, to table setting, to serving, to cleaning up. It is a true family affair!
Those are the traditions our family holds dear, and we’re so grateful for the way these traditions shape both our kids and ourselves. I hope they’re a springboard for you to implement traditions that serve your family — let me know what you come up with because if we can share those on Vital Moms, you’ll be encouraging others to create beautiful, solid anchor points for generations to come.
Let’s create traditions together!
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Such beautiful traditions to focus on. Even more so in a world that is changing so rapidly and consequently losing a lot of these wonderful traditions. We should never under estimate there importance.
Well said. Traditions be them cultural, familial or spiritual are important to health and life.
Thanks for sharing.