Rituals Of Life
Life takes a full circle, and comes back with a lesson or two…
This profound truth found its way into my conscience when I started insisting on certain rituals during the course of the day with my children. When I was growing up, my relationship with these seemingly silly rituals enforced by my mother, ranged from gleeful giggles when very young, to rebellious questions when older.
The rituals my mother enforced on us, and the ones I speak of here, are not rituals that are written down in religious scriptures. They are simple, day-to-day activities made closer to the heart, so that we carry comforting memories of it through the trying times in our lives.
For example, we have a “Greeting rule” at home – both when we wake up and when we go to bed. No matter what – whether you are tired, or angry, or have had a fight with one another, the rule stays. Sometimes, it is this simple “Good Morning” or “Good Night” that chips away the differences, and brings the siblings closer to each other.
Another rule enforced rather strictly at home, is the “Hug before you leave” rule. As the name implies, we have hurried hugs, even if the school bus is honking angrily at the gate. Needless to say, the kids run smiling into the bus, even though the early morning routine may not have been entirely to their liking.
Choosing their bed-covers every time it’s time to change them, is another ritual we love to do together. Ofcourse, choosing it extends into helping me with tucking in the washed, crisp sheets and putting in the pillow covers to match. Thus, an activity which would have been considered a chore, now becomes family bonding time, leaving pleasant imprints in their minds.
Laying the table for the family dinner (the only meal we eat at the dining table as a family), picking out the crockery when we have guests over, deciding the menu for parties, or the venue for a celebratory dinner, are all “rituals”. And the rules remain the same: Everyone participates. (Even if you are sulking!!)
We have our ugly days too. A ten year old who thinks her mother is just not ‘cool’ enough to hand over an expensive piece of gadget to her, or a five year old who has just been reprimanded for pouring water all over the living room rug. Mom and Dad have just had an argument about the broken tap. Just like any family, we have our shares of sulks and fights.
But over the years, we have, as a family, evolved into a collective habit. We set aside the sulks and the fights to accommodate these seemingly silly rituals.
This, perhaps, will train them for the future; a future where they will have emotionally, physically and mentally trying times. But also a future where they realise that the tiring times can be set aside to give time to more important things – like a hug, a greeting, for a loved one; or a bed time story for a little one.
Meena Bhatnagar is a mother of two, with a passion for the written word. She dabbles with fiction, a couple of them finding their way into published work, is an avid blogger, and works as a corporate trainer to pay for all the damages. She blogs on parenting, social issues and humorous incidents of her life and on hotel & restaurant reviews and corporate training.