**I posted this because I was required to for a class!! :)
Right now I am taking a family processes class at BYU and we have been learning about the difference between family routines and family rituals. Every family has routines, or things they do daily or weekly that have become habits. For example, waking up every day, eating breakfast, walking to the corner to catch the bus, picking your kids up from school, or cooking dinner are routines -- things you do every day without much variation. Routines do not usually have deep meaning, they are just something we do because it needs to get done. However, some routines have deeper meaning. For example, maybe while you drive your daughter to school every day you talk about her life and what she needs help with that week. Or perhaps your son helps you to cook dinner every night, and the time you spend with him is time spent telling jokes or talking and laughing about your day. Then driving your daughter to school or cooking dinner has become more than just a routine -- it has become a ritual. A ritual is a routine with deeper meaning. It is very similar to a family tradition, but one you do more often than once a year.
My family loves to travel to California. We often make it out there several times a year. While we often stay with family, we always ending up spending part of our trip in various hotel rooms. Somehow, when we are all together in a hotel room, we always end up watching the Food Network. I am not sure why this always happens, but it seems to be a channel that we only watch when we are all together. It is an unspoken ritual, it's not like we talk about our plans to watch cooking shows, it just always ends up happening! This time spent watching The Food Network is time we spend together bonding. We always get so into the cooking contests and it's a blissful time when there is little fighting and we are all focused on the same thing.
I love this little ritual we have of watching The Food Network together. It's a time when none of my siblings are fighting and we can spend time becoming closer to each other. It's cool how something so mundane as checking into a hotel room for the night can become something more meaningful because I now associate it with happy time spent with my parents and siblings.
I hope in my future family we can create meaningful rituals together that make my kids think of happy time spent together as a family. It's cool how this class is helping me to understand the importance of the little things we do every day as a family and how daily habits contribute to something bigger.