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The Importance of Ritual

Building or planting rituals throughout your family’s daily, weekly, or yearly life seems to be an important part of creating a safe, consistent, and dependable environment for your children. I wouldn’t be hard pressed to find a friendly child psychologist that could add to this post (or better, offer a guest post) praising the merits of consistency in the life of a child. But even as an adult, consistent routine can add to our feelings of security, stability, and safety. Although adults are less susceptible to the emotion and even trauma of unpredictability, safety and security are still important. Our routines anchor us and make us sturdy against the frenetic push and pull of chaos and peace, death and growth, noise and silence, stillness and rush, spiritual hunger and satisfaction. Our rituals, be they given to us by church tradition, liturgy, or other, help us absorb the joys, pains, and lessons these changing seasons offer.
The making of ritual is often, although not always, simply the creative act of engaging routine with intention and mindfulness. It is to make for ourselves and our family a ceremonial discipline which engages our whole self – mind, body and spirit – rather than the machinery of reflex and repetition. So while life is full of those wonderful hints of the transcendent Other, God-in-our-midst, we can further our living experience by entering our routines with purpose in order that we may live joyously, suffer legitimately, and draw our family’s awareness to What is already in our presence daily – God, Christ, and Spirit.

Our routines anchor us and make us sturdy against the frenetic push and pull of chaos and peace, death and growth, noise and silence, stillness and rush, spiritual hunger and satisfaction. Our rituals, be they given to us by church tradition, liturgy, or other, help us absorb the joys, pains, and lessons these changing seasons offer.

Part of Daniel’s and my journey in Incarnational Christian Parenting (the task that hopefully you will bear witness to through this blog) is the creation of these rituals. I know it will be slow. We will have some wins and some losses – things that work and things that don’t. I intend to share both because what does not work for me might work for you. If this is the case, please share! Comment and email – I want to hear from you and build our little community of intentional parents. Borrowing from Gertrud Mueller Nelson (To Dance with God, 1973), ritual and ritual making is like play – it is creative and requires a bit of the childlike. We can begin simply with energetic curiosity and a spirit of adventure, engage the disciplines of maturity, and create something wonderful that helps our families catch something of the Transcendent. We can make a sacred space and anchor ourselves in the midst of endless flux so that we might grow in Grace, Peace, and Love.