I love Valentine’s Day. I know there is a lot of hype, expensive gifts, chocolates, and greeting cards. I also know that many people are disappointed if they are not remembered on this day for lovers. I met my husband in our freshman year of college on Valentine’s Day, so it has always held a special place in my heart.
I look forward to the event every February 14th.
For many young people today, celebrating holidays and traditions is almost non-existent. The many amazing traditions we enjoy including special foods and cultural events that are linked to Thanksgiving, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, birthdays, religious holidays, and even Super Bowl are not part of their family discussions or celebrations. This makes me very sad.
Yet traditions and even rituals offer numerous benefits to families. They teach values, provide a source of identity that can last a lifetime, and pass on cultural and religious heritage from generation to generation. Traditions offer stability and order, help us stay connected to family and friends, and even help us to cope with loss and trauma.

Mentors can help. They can talk to their mentees about their traditions and rituals, favorite holiday foods and can share stories of what and how they celebrate on a specific day year after year. As each holiday approaches, mentors can ask mentees if they have a personal account or tradition connected with the day but should never push, probe, or are judgmental. While mentors never impose their religious convictions and values on their mentees, they can teach the importance of traditions and rituals by example. After a while, some young people begin meaningful traditions of their own with their mentor. It is a start toward a lifetime of celebrations and enjoyment.

Oh, and by the way, happy Super Bowl! We have my favorite barbequed wings with blue cheese dip while watching the yearly classic!

Dr. Susan G. Weinberger
FEBRUARY 1, 2020