becoming a family
We have a tradition at our house where I wake up on Saturday mornings and bake something - scones, muffins, cinnamon rolls, etc, and put it on the kitchen table, and it's nearly gone by lunchtime. I actually did not even know we had this tradition until one Saturday morning a few months ago where someone wandered into the kitchen and asked me what I was baking that morning. So it's actually not a thing I do every Saturday, but often enough and routinely enough that kind of by accident, it has become a thing that our family needs, enjoys, and expects... a Saturday morning tradition, of sorts. It's not something I intentionally set out to do, and not something I plan my week around, and not something I stress out about. I would just wake up some mornings and think that something sounded good, so I would make it, and so then it's just a part of who we've become and how we operate as a family. It's something I enjoy doing, that my family reads as love, and over time has become part of our family culture. It is an overflow of who God has made me to be, something that is naturally part of me, that becomes a part of them.
Growing up, my Grandpa taught us how to fish. He bought us all fishing poles, took us fishing, and in doing so, created family identity and belonging. It is a hobby deeply set in his heart... and who God made him to be overflowed onto us as he shared his enjoyment and passion. All of his grandchildren like to fish, to my knowledge, and I realize that's not because one day he decided it was important that his family know how to fish, and so he was very particular and intentional about setting aside time to fish, and making sure that was what we did. He just did it, brought us along for the ride, and it became a part of who his family is. It was a tradition that happened by accident, through him sharing what he enjoyed, with us.
This past week at Bible study, a couple of my fellow mamas and I, on a side note, were discussing family culture, identity, tradition, and doing things together. You see all these families doing neat things together, and it almost feels like pressure... like wow, if we want to be that kind of family, we need to start now! We need to start working toward it. We need to be intentional about doing things that work toward that goal.
I think that's partially true, because doing things together as a family does take intentional effort, and making space in our lives for things that bring us together doesn't happen by accident. But in both of the stories I shared above, tradition, identity, and family culture were formed gently and organically, over time, as a result of people sharing natural things they like to do with the people that they love. It wasn't a step toward a goal, or a carefully scheduled and planned list... it was just doing life together, in the way that God created us to be.
Our family is still in the "becoming" process of who we will be as a family, and I find my Grandpa's example really encouraging. I think of it often, whenever I start to feel stress and pressure that I'm not doing enough, or that we won't ever "be". Who we become as family, flows out of who Grant and I are in Christ, and how we lead and teach in a natural way as an overflow of all that God has done for us. It is an incredible opportunity to shape and form little lives, and we can do it because of Jesus. We can't do it because we do the right things, or the right steps... but we can do it because He is leading us!
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6)