I’ve always loved fall best of all. There are so many reasons, but I think it comes mainly from all the wonderful family memories made in the fall. Tradition plays a big role in those family memories and I’m making them with my own family now.
A visit to our local pumpkin patch is one of those annual fall family traditions. The trip wouldn’t be complete without a ride down the giant slide, watching the pig races, driving go-carts, and eating kettle corn, sweet potato ribbons, and more! Every member of the family looks forward to our time together at the pumpkin patch.
As we get into November, the focus shifts to Thanksgiving. Much of what we know about the history and tradition behind Thanksgiving comes from what we learned in school. The Pilgrims, Native Americans, and the “first” Thanksgiving meal are part of every child’s education. School plays are put on and meals are eaten in this tradition. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a staple in our home every year.
All of this history surrounding our Thanksgiving traditions is wonderful, but where is God in it? How do we help our children discover God in the history lessons they learn and the family traditions we participate in year after year?
You may have to go back to your school days to answer those questions. You’ll have to do some research, but don’t worry. It’s much easier now to find the answers you’re looking for! Here are three things you could search regarding historical events and traditions:
- Did the tradition have religious or spiritual roots?
- Were there circumstances surrounding the events or traditions that only God could have orchestrated?
- How did the events or traditions positively affect people, either at the time it originated or in the future?
Some of these questions require investigation on your part, but the others could be a great topic for discussion with your kids. We have the benefit of hindsight when looking at historical events and can often see the good God brought from these events that might not have been known at the time. We can celebrate His faithfulness alongside the traditions that have been passed down for years!
Since we just experienced Thanksgiving, let’s use that as an example. Several years ago, I was introduced to the story of Squanto via audiobook. I had not heard the Thanksgiving story told from this perspective before, but it became a favorite for our family to listen to while making meal preparations.
Squanto went through many unpleasant experiences early in his life, but God had great plans for him. God used Squanto and the things he learned in those difficult times to later bless and save his own people. God’s miracles are all over the first Thanksgiving! We now have a wonderful picture book of that same story we’ve listened to for years, Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving, to read as a family.
As a history buff, I always love to learn more about the little things that impacted big events we remember and celebrate. But I love even more to look for God in those events and traditions because He is all over our history. It’s up to me to teach my kids to look for Him and His miracles, in history and all around us now!
How are you helping your children understand God’s place in history and tradition?