An Artist’s View: Creating Meaningful Family Traditions
By Andrea Ganz Seiderman

The autumn issue of our Piedmont Family magazine is always fun as it brings a cornucopia of colorful ideas. As the writer of the Artists’ View column, I always attempt to relate my thoughts to the current theme of the issue, this one being ‘family traditions.’

Defining the word ‘tradition’ would generally lead us to think of an established custom being passed on from generation to generation. If we look more closely, there is in fact an artistic and literary definition meaning “a followed style.”  In dance, following a style may mean studying a known and established movement, while perhaps in writing or art it proves to be a more visionary type of work. The study of any form of art will undoubtedly cover a vast array of traditions and styles.

Teaching children to trust and feel confident in their own creativity and simultaneously equating stories and techniques of our art masters have proven to be an absolute winning way for me in structuring my art lessons.  The children feel the pride in what they have made and a bit of knowledge and history has been tucked away!

Once I read that traditions are the glue that keeps a family together. In the hectic over-scheduling of our days, the little traditions that our grandparents taught us seem to slip away. For example, in my house, more often than not, we all eat at the kitchen counter; while we are together, it’s certainly not the formal dining experience of past generations.  My son reminds us about twice a week to set a more formal place in the dining room, resulting in a more relaxed experience that stops our world from spinning, if just for a dinner break, and this little time together may be that magical moment that will be tomorrow’s unique and special memory. 

Before writing this article I asked a few friends what traditions were special to them. Nearly everyone directly reminisced about holidays. I smiled and asked them just for a minute to step out of that beautifully wrapped box of traditions and view the entire year. Is it not a ‘tradition’ to go back-to-school shopping? Or, as I used to do with my children, walk in the newly fallen fall leaves looking for the most colorful ones to bring home? Or eating that weekly family meal at the dining room table on special china?

One of my favorite family traditions was heading to the pumpkin patch each October to look for the very best pumpkin ever!  My children would sit next to it for a picture, sit on top of it, and try to carry it – and of course, the carving and roasting of pumpkin seeds added to the fun and excitement.

Yes, my friends, these are traditions, too!  We all have those special family memories which teach us so much about our world, ourselves, and life…invaluable lessons that no amount of classroom education can match.

Whether it’s a story at bedtime, watching the Thanksgiving parade, helping set the holiday table, or listening to stories of holidays gone by, we are establishing our own family traditions.  Perhaps too often as parents we overlook the fact that our children’s knowledge of who they really are comes by way of the  examples we set and these traditions we encourage.

Traditions, whether carried over from one generation to another, or beginning now with your own family, provide the greatest canvas for what our children learn. Traditions matter, and the memories they create will enrich your family today and leave a lasting legacy for tomorrow.

Blessings,  Andrea

Andrea Seiderman is a commissioned artist and teacher who lives in Charleston, SC. She enjoys frequent trips to the ocean with her family to enjoy sights, scents and sounds that inspire her art.


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