My same pal, Tristi, that I mentioned in my previous post is also a contributing writer to Families.Com - a commercial blog about marriage and family issues. I've been mining through back posts there to see if there might be any good info I can glean for the sociology class in Marriage & the Family I will be teaching for CWI this Spring Term.
After several years of teaching primarily online classes I am excited about the chance to get back into the classroom. I've arranged my schedule at my full time job to allow me release time to do this traditional face to face class one day a week. That will give me a very full plate to fit it all in. But with some strategic time management I'm pretty sure I'll be ok.
So as I read through some of the posts Tristi has written I was very impressed by the timely piece she did on "Differences in Traditions"
Whether it be in how couples handle the holidays, general philosophies about money management in a marriage, views on child rearing or relationships with in-laws, one of the challenges of any marriage is bringing together people with different life experiences and different ways of doing things. For those who have the added challenge of being from completely different cultures, or even as in my case having a wide age gap between partners that can create generational perspective differences, it can require some interesting negotiating.
I think one of the most significant things Tristi pointed out in her blog post on this topic is that the modern day tradition we act out may be a RESPONSE to earlier experience rather that a continuation of things handed down from the past. She talks about the importance to her of giving her kids special gifts for Christmas because she grew up without much in the way of material sparkle. In a way, providing an abundant Christmas for her family now is reaching back to the kid she used to be and making up for what she missed out on. Her husband grew up with over-the-top Christmas celebrations throughout his life. For him, the glitz and glamour is far less important.
These words hit home to me with a vengeance. I can see how in several cases, not just at Christmas, I have done things for my kids that were more about responding to my own sense of what I had missed out on growing up than they were about meeting a present need they had.
What sort of tradition differences do you have in your family? How do you negotiate which style of Christmas (or other things) will win out at your house these days? I'd be really interested to hear.