There are many types of family traditions. There are religious traditions, seasonal traditions, celebratory traditions or just plain fun traditions. Whatever kind they are, all family traditions have one thing in common—they unite us. The best way to strengthen family relationships is by spending time together, and traditions can play an important role by helping families remember to take time to appreciate one another.
Most of my family’s traditions revolve around two things: outdoor activities and food. In the part of Oregon where we live we have the sweetest berries. Every summer we make a point of going berry picking, taking advantage of a beautiful day, and then going home and enjoying the deliciousness together. Another annual tradition we have is on the day after Thanksgiving we go to the Christmas tree farm to chop down our tree. No matter what the weather is like, we go traipsing all over the farm looking for that perfect tree. It’s always a fun and sometimes muddy outing that ends with stuffing a giant tree through the front door and warming up with steaming cups of hot chocolate.
Creating memories together.
Taking the time to do these things together has strengthened our family relationships. We laugh and joke together and cherish these fun moments. Families can also develop weekly and daily traditions. Whether it’s family prayer or game night, children remember and are shaped by these wholesome activities.
Elder L. Tom Perry said, “If we will build righteous traditions in our families, the light of the gospel can grow ever brighter in the lives of our children from generation to generation.”
When we prioritize family traditions, we are prioritizing each other and the treasured relationships we have. It’s never too late to start a new family tradition or rekindle old ones. Take some time today for family and traditions.
—Allie Hamilton, Stance
by Mandy Teerlink
The whirlwind scent of the fair tickled my six-year-old nose. We walked into a big white tent, and I saw them. The ostriches. They were huge. Their long pink necks stretched high above my head, and their fluffy bodies seemed so soft to the touch. I had never seen an ostrich before. Maybe once at the zoo, from fifty yards away, but never THIS close. I gaped at the gigantic birds, not really comprehending the magnitude of the moment until it was over.
Flash forward about sixteen years to the present day. I’m wandering around with some college friends, and this time we’re at the Utah State Fair in Salt Lake City. But it doesn’t feel the same. All I see is a bunch of farm animals falling asleep on the hay. Then I look more closely at a group of children huddled around a newborn calf. I remember the wonder I felt whenever I got to pet a new animal as a little girl. There was something about touching and smelling and experiencing a new environment that made it all so special.
Children need learning experiences like this in their lives. The State Fair is such an intriguing blend of rides, exhibits, and food. It can provide a great opportunity for children to learn about the world and experience new things.
Some great things to see at the fair are
• Farm animals
• Craft exhibits
• Photography exhibits
• Science exhibits
• Booths selling all kinds of wares
Obviously there’s plenty to keep everyone happy. However, you need to be a little savvy in order to see everything worth seeing.
So here are some tips to make your fair experience easier:
1. Go earlier during the day, on a weekday. It’s less busy, and some of the exhibits close early.
2. Look up concerts ahead of time so you know who’s performing when. You might even get to see some bigger names.
3. Bring extra cash for food and tickets so you don’t have to pay a fee or stand in line at the fair ATMs.
4. Bring water with you, I guarantee all the walking will make you thirsty!
5. Bring hand sanitizer. Lots of dirty animals and rides!
Although the Utah State Fair finished up this last weekend, most counties in Utah hold their own fairs. Here’s a list of different fairs for the rest of the year.
Remember, the most important part of going to a fair is having fun and sharing memories!
by Emily Smith
I couldn’t imagine a life without my siblings. Although they weren’t my best friends from my early stages of life, I have come to love and appreciate them for the people they are. Unfortunately, there are children who grow up without sibling support in foster homes across the United States. Lynn Price, a former foster child, has changed this for many children. In a New York Times article she stated, “I realized that my sister and I had no memories of when we were kids. There were no memories of birthday parties, sharing clothes, helping each other with homework, or talking about boys. I thought about the kids who will miss out on something that is so critical to their growth and feelings of unconditional love.”
Reading her account moved me to understand why she took action. My sister and I shared closets, stealing each other’s clothes; this often resulted in yelling at each other when we got home from school and had realized that one of us had taken the other’s favorite shirt and unwittingly spilled something on it. These confrontations were all part of the bonding experience; although we hated each other sometimes, we could not stop loving each other. The experience of growing up together usually ensures a lifelong connection of friendship between siblings.
To help establish that connection between siblings who aren’t able grow up together, Price founded “Camp To Belong” in 1995, which reunites siblings who have been separated in foster care. Statistics show that 75 percent of children placed in foster care are separated from their siblings. “Camp To Belong” is described as “an international non-profit organization dedicated to reuniting siblings placed in separate foster homes and other out-of-home care for events of fun, emotional empowerment and sibling connection.” There are currently nine of these camps that reunite foster siblings. During this week, siblings are able to get to know each other; they make crafts and are given gift cards to buy each other birthday presents. They also ask each other questions about favorite sports and hobbies.
Many of us are lucky enough that we don’t have to ask those questions. We are able to grow up with our siblings in the same household with our parents. For those who aren’t as fortunate, Lynn Price has created an amazing organization to benefit the relationships of siblings. Too often I take my siblings for granted; reading about “Camp to Belong” gave me perspective and a deeper gratitude for the experiences I shared with my siblings.
Or visit Camp to Belong’s official website: http://camptobelong.org/