Making New Memories and Traditions

When a blended family is created, individuals come with past memories and traditions. These may be secretly tucked into the niches of people's past lives, but they are nevertheless there. They will live on in the new family and, from time to time, vie with new memories and traditions.

What do we do with the things people bring with them that we had no part in creating or participating in? The human tendency is to ignore them and pretend the new things we will create as a new family will far surpass the old memories and traditions. This is a big mistake that many in newly blended families make. The mental collectibles that people carry with them need to be honored and acknowledged. They need a rightful place along with the new things that are being formed. We can't remove what is imbedded in a person's brain, mind, or heart.

So what do we do with the memories? We keep them but file them in a safe place in our minds. And we open our hearts wide to all the new ones coming in. Creating new traditions is also vitally important. When new traditions are created, every family member should have input and their suggestions taken seriously. (This excludes a surfing trip to Hawaii on each family member's birthday.)

Honor and respect what people bring with them into your blended family. Allow them to keep and hold important what they feel is precious to them. But also focus on creating new Kodak moments and traditions. Purposely look for opportunities to create memories.

From 7 Keys to a Healthy Blended Family by Jim Smoke, chapter 3 pages 49-51, Harvest House Publishers, 2004


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