Essay on Family Traditions

Posted on Apr 16 2019 - 2:40pm by Ella

One of the most disturbing observations repeatedly vocalised by people who fall into the grandparents’ age group is that family traditions appear to be dying a slow and painful death. The elderly fondly talk about the good old days, when many of the socio-economic problems faced could be solved through the application of a few familiar, tried-sand-tested solutions. They definitely have a point and with age comes the wisdom of a very rich mix of proper life experience. However, since we’re now living in a time where the world changes at an extremely rapid pace, perhaps we need to come up with a different definition of what family traditions are, in the modern, ever-changing world.


A tradition can be formally defined to be an action or thought-pattern which is inherited, perpetuated and in a sense enforced by people, institutions, and even circumstances. So in the typical family setting, some of the most obvious traditions would include activities such as eating, going to work or school, just hanging out, communicating, and even those periodic traditions which pop up as a result of special life events, like weddings, funerals, baptisms or celebrations such as birthday parties, anniversaries, graduation ceremonies, etc. Between these common events and activities around which the strongest and most institutionalised family traditions form, there is just so much more to be dealt with by families, whether as individuals or as the whole family collectively. Chances are both parents in the typical nucleic family structure work and they may in fact be working awkward hours, if indeed the family in question is a typical one with two married parents. In this specific instance this would probably account for some altered family traditions around simple activities such as eating.

Take the case of a Japanese first-born son, for instance, who is so grumpy in the morning before school that he cannot even acknowledge his mother’s presence, let alone thank her for waking up earlier than him to prepare him a good breakfast. Perhaps in this situation the gratitude is implied and perhaps this implied gratitude is received in good faith by the grumpy boy’s mother. At least it’s a valued family tradition nonetheless, even if its value is only highlighted in the absence of that tradition (like on a Saturday morning when nobody needs to wake up early).

If our focus shifts across continents and we take into account a scene from a British household for instance, where both parents hold down eight-to-four jobs and the children are considered to be big and ugly enough to prepare their own breakfast before school, the evolution of family traditions becomes even more apparent. It’s very quickly becoming a matter of fitting evolved traditions into the essentials of life which take priority, such as going out to get an education or to work and then coming back to sort of pick up the pieces and formulate traditions out of the little time left between the more “important” stuff.

Now, as much as the elderly have a case for pointing out how family traditions seem to be dying out, it’s perhaps a bit more accurate to refer to them as evolving instead of dying. Even kids have to adapt to world where everything increasingly happens at much faster pace, which inevitably results in family traditions which are more dynamic in their nature. So instead of say a family all sitting down at the dinner table to have at least one meal per day as a family, the fact that everyone eats whenever they’re hungry and perhaps in front of the TV may not resemble a family tradition as it was previously practiced, but it’s still a family tradition nonetheless – an evolved family tradition. A closer look at these evolutions in the dynamics of family traditions doesn’t have to cast a negative shadow on the outcomes, but should rather be seen in a positive light. So what if your child essentially “bought” their essay for a school project at If anything, it shows a bit of foresight and guile on their part and is perhaps a good indication of the fact that they’d make a great businessperson one day. It’d be a different matter if they bought all their essays and wrote none of them themselves, but in the grander scheme of things, this type of thinking can very easily contribute to them being more available to participate in those family traditions you all want to preserve.

Ultimately, for essential family traditions to continue to thrive they have to evolve in some way or another and some time needs to be invested in them – time which can be created through a range of creative ways, such as the delegation of some “less essential” tasks.