Building a Family Covenant
There is no greater bond than the one between parent and child. The chemistry of that glue was forged in the fires of creation. When you open the gates of your heart to another person their children will enter with them. Now they may not enter as you may have wished, they may choose to climb over the gates like a barbarian invasion or stand outside and rattle the gate or enter with mountains of baggage.
Your new family may take a lot time in the blender before a smooth texture is achieved, indeed the you may come to love the unique lumpy texture of this recipe. Each member of the this new family unit will have their own past and challenges with their age related needs. These children may have one foot in another family unit and the dynamics of these details can be quite overwhelming. While your heart is soaring with new love and joy these children may be nursing wounded hearts from a previous divorce or the death of a parent. They may be missing the other parent or grieving their broken home. They may feel the need to protect their relationships with their natural parents.
Ceremony is a great way to bring these diverse pieces together into a new whole, a new covenant. Children really get ritual and symbolism. The very act of creating this ceremony with the whole family will forge a bond and allow them to actively participate in creating the new identity of this family.
The children could work with you to develop a family crest, or choose a name for your new tribe. You could all work together to write a family creed or covenant that lays the ground rules to live by and your commitment to each other. You could all choose a symbol or a piece of jewelry to represent this new bond. The possibilities are endless!
Many people include the children in their wedding ceremony and vows, but it is never too late the have a Family Blending Ceremony. Even if you did have a family unity ritual as part of your wedding it may be time to more actively involve the children in a ceremony, just for them, that deals with the deep and complex the layers of your particular situation. Crafting this ceremony is a very creative and inventive process and it is a particularly exciting format for the children to reveal their concerns, feelings and ideas and become a vital contributing member of this new tribe.