Motherhood parable: the snowflake Tradition
Today we cut paper snowflakes to decorate our windows with. This is a yearly tradition we do every winter, as many others do as well.
As we were cutting white paper I was trying to instruct both my four-year-old and my six-year-old how to do this. For my six-year-old it was a reminder from last year. But my four-year-old… This was her first experience doing it by herself.
No there are many variations of snowflakes and how to cut them even how to fold them. Do you want a six sided snowflake? An eight sided snowflake? Etc. We start out with the eight sided because it is easiest to fold in half then in half then in half again. But for my six-year-old I was showing him a new level how to fold in thirds which would make sixes. It was a little bit more difficult, But he was ready for this next level.
For my four-year-old I had to prep her snowflake and actually help her fold half and half and half again. And I showed her how to cut a circle or square or triangle out of each side. And we stopped with that.
For my six-year-old I told him to cut a snake and one side and I showed him how you can cut something that weeds from one side through the middle and opens up huge and goes back skinny again to the side. So I was helping him see how to fill the space better. I also was helping him cut from the top edge more so that the snowflake edges would not be flat like typical hexagons or octagons.
For myself I was folding my six or eight again so that it would be more 12 or 16 sided. The complexity for mine was definitely a lot more compared to my four and six-year-old. I would include very similar Lee shaped variations on my snowflake to bring about a pattern that was very well ordered and coordinated. Because I can be anal like that sometimes. I love seeing the patterns and order in a well coordinated snowflake. :-)
But the random ones are just as great. And we could see that from my four-year-olds for sure… As well as my six-year-old.
As I thought about the snowflakes I realize that our kids learn a lot from us, but it's best to start with simplicity. Then build layer upon layer over time. This allows us to focus on teaching our children solid foundational principles that matter most...over and over again.
But what principles do you want our children to get deeply embedded into their soul more than anything else? That is a question that each of us has to ask ourselves.
I found that love is the key behind all things. And I wish I would teach more for love and with love. I fall short much in this regard… But I am trying. And this parable helps me realize once again that love is a foundational principle.
Two other principles that I have found over and over in my life are both hope and faith.
Hope is based in knowledge--it's based in truth. When we have hope it's because we have learned something that might be true or we have seen an example or caught a glimpse of something we want to receive or we want to work towards. Hope is positive. It is looking towards the future and potential. Stirs up our desire and motivations. Then our faith is that fuel and energy to act on such hope.
If we are doing something… we are showing faith. Even if that doing something is choosing to be still and take time with our children. Or too quiet our minds and meditate. That is still action among stillness. It is the purposefulness through which we make our choices that we show our faith.
So those are three principles which like the Scripture says in the book of Mormon faith hope and charity bring us into me the fountain of all righteousness. This is true. If we are having hope and acting and hope out of love and pure motivation… We are reaching our potential and coming closer to Christ.
So… Back to the snowflakes.
I love establishing traditions, because traditions are things that are comforting, that bring great memories, and that establish deep patterns and embed richness into our lives.
Our snowflake tradition is great because it provides a similar experience over and over again, but we are able to further deepen our understanding with each renewal of the tradition.
not only can we make a paper snowflake out of white paper, but we can change the color paper, we can change the results and color the snowflakes at the end. We can use different materials like cloth and wax paper. We can change the theme of the snowflake and try to create a shape snowflake, or a triangle snowflake, or a squiggly snowflake, or even try to make pictures out of it. I saw a YouTube channel just for Star Wars shaped snowflakes. Woah! Deep experiences like this allow our children to Gain new perspectives. It teaches mastery. It shows children the process by which to think through things differently each time. It is mind opening with each renewed experience. It allows them to see strengths and weaknesses of different approaches each time. It's a deeper, more holistic experience.
"Snowflake experiences" can change the way in which our children see the world, and see themselves in the world. "Snowflake experiences" and traditions are important--they are foundational to family and to our journey of learning and living.
What are your traditions?
What does your family love doing together?
Enjoy them, and you can build and strengthen your families' foundations in many rich Ways