Family traditions are important to your health and your business. Take the Japanese culture, for example. Sociologists have long considered the Japanese to be among the healthiest and most vibrant groups of people in the world. Many of the people that live the longest come from Japan.
Why is that?
For many years, this was thought to be the because of their diet. A diet based on more fish and vegetables and less on red meat and starches (such as the American diet).
But an interesting hypothesis has been proposed.
What if the reason for the longevity and health of the Japanese has more to do with its family and community structures than with the food that they eat? What if family traditions had more to do with their vitality than anything else?
This hypothesis is an important one for all of us to consider.
Connected yet Disconnected
It is no secret that our families are not as strong as they once were. You don’t need a long list of depressing statistics that show the decline of the family to convince you of that. It is all around us.
We are more more connected to each other than ever before. Yet, we have never (as a society) been more disconnected from deep, meaningful relationships than we are today.
As technology grows and brings the world closer to us, it has – at the exact same time – disconnected us from the world around us. Take a second to consider what it looks like at family functions or just in an everyday settings around you.
- How much dialogue is happening between people?
- How much eye contact?
- How many people are spending the majority of their time “together” staring at their phones or devices?
- How many kids (or adults) have headphones on while they’re together?
- How much interaction do you see between adults and children?
We need a reboot, I think.
Why Family Traditions Matter
As mentioned, the Japanese are a good model of health and longevity. This may be because of how they stay connected. Not to their technology or “the world”, but to family, friends, and community.
When you consider the typical Japanese community, you will see a connected family presence. Families stay close. Extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc) are in the area and are a part of each other’s lives.
In many of our homes, the opposite is true. We are divorced, disconnected, disillusioned by family, and everyone suffers for it.
This is why creating family traditions can mean so much to your health and the happiness of your home. In face, family traditions may very well be the answer that many of us are looking for. It is not about “getting ahead” in life, but (in many ways) about “going back” to the things that matter most. It’s about re-connecting and re-creating memories and moments that will last a lifetime and beyond.
So here’s the takeaway:
- What traditions mean the most to you?
- How can you continue to do these and, if possible, make them even more meaningful?
- What traditions do other families have that you could adopt or make your own?
- What are some simple, weekly traditions that you could begin?
Maybe it is as simple as dinner once a week at the table. Maybe its something that my family and I started that we call “Family Friday”. We wanted to give a day (more like an evening) that felt special and protected and we picked Friday to be our day. We make time to get a treat together, pick out a movie and bring it home, or have dinner out. It’s not usually expensive or big, but its consistent and it’s something fun that we do together. It has been a huge success and we can already see the benefits of it for our family.
Whatever it is that you do, realize that the family traditions you create (no matter how old you are or if you have kids in the home still or not) are the memories that you will cherish forever. More importantly, you just may become a lot healthier in all of the ways that truly matter.
What are some of the family traditions that you love? Please share your ideas in the comment section below. Tag your family with this post in the social media links below.