As we jump into the holidays, many of us will experience traditions that our families have had for generations. Traditions are what make our family time together special as we can remember many holidays doing the same things together. It helps us know what to expect and tends to cement these times into our memories. Sometimes we do not even know why we have a specific tradition or why we do something the way we do. It has been passed down through so many years or generations and we just do not want to make changes.
Have you ever answered a child’s question, “why do we do this?”, with “because that is how we have always done it”? I know I have!
Traditions are great for bringing families together. Sometimes we even have traditions in our way of teaching children. Maybe, we were taught in a certain way. Maybe, our church denomination has always taught using a particular method. Maybe, those in leadership have told us this is how we have always done it. Or maybe, it has been a part of our culture for generations.
Either way, some of these traditions have become like a stumbling block. We do not know how to change them or if we should.
In Module 2 of our KidZ Ministry Certification Program, we begin with an Opening Affirmation called, “Too Familiar”. We explain to the participants that, “we are going to open our eyes a little bit, and see what it is in children’s ministry that may need some closer examination.” We challenge them – “We hope your experiences this week cause you to think… really think.” This would be great for all of us to ponder this holiday season.
We are not sending teams around the world (including the United States) to say, “keep doing everything you are doing”, or “there is no reason to change what you are doing”. Why would we send teams if there is not a challenge to a way of thinking or traditional teaching?
We are bringing encouragement and challenging communities to rethink how we are teaching children about Jesus. Are we teaching children to fall deeply in love with Jesus, who loves us with a love that is more than anything we can imagine?
During this holiday season, maybe it is a good time to wonder and ask why our families have specific traditions. Maybe it is time to give our traditions more meaning or even change them to reflect more on giving glory to our Heavenly Father for what He has done for us. Are we “Too Familiar”?