What Does Tradition Stand For? - Is tradition important anymore?
TRADITION. I could write a book about it. First, however, let's try to summarize what is important. Cynthia for Ohin wrote me a couple of weeks back because she was upset with the way their family has not been honoring tradition. I found that after doing some research, one of which was a Twitter poll, I was amazed that out of over 5,000 voters, almost 70% of them were discontented that due to family dynamics changes, certain traditions became lost.
I am big on tradition. Not because I am Italian because every race, color, creed, and faith have their own traditions. By definition, courtesy of Merriam-Webster, tradition is defined as the following:
1 a. - an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (such as a religious practice or a social custom)
b. - a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable
2 - the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
3 - cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
4 - characteristic manner, method, or style
Basically, for this post, I am referring to things we pass down from generation to generation. Although, tradition has other meanings and is used in different contexts. For example. Let's say you are at work, and you have a better idea of how to get something done. So you go to the boss and make your suggestion. It happens to be more efficient and would save time and money. YOur boss replies, and by the way, when I worked in the corporate world, I heard this reply NUMEROUS times.
"Traditionally, we have been doing things this way for years, and it works. I see no reason to change it."
Well, besides the fact that you just realized you are working for a closed-minded fool, and certainly not a good manager, it shows that tradition can and at times should and could be changed.
Tradition, as we are talking about it, is passed on from you to others, especially within your family. It could be how you celebrate holidays, a mother passing her recipes down to her children, and more. With that said, every person and family has the choice and right to either set or honor their traditions. Although, family traditions don't usually change until the dynamics of the family change.
Meaning, children move away, someone such as a parent(s) or grandparents pass away. Other factors also enter into the picture when we have mixed marriages. Not only of color but same-sex marriages, different cultures or religions, etc. Now it is no longer about only your family traditions. Often this causes conflicts. Trust me, I know. My grandparents came over from Italy. They were strict Italians. My parents were slightly more Italian, but my mother, R.I.P., was set in her ways. Especially on the holidays. She didn't care who came over to eat. However, she was cooking and the holiday was at her house. NO NEGOTIATIONS.
Moving onto my generation, my sister and I were much easier and understanding, especially with our children. At my mother's, it was Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at her house. PERIOD. My inlaws were invited but rarely came because they had their traditions. To keep the peace, for years, my ex-wife and I would have to double visit on every holiday. Talk about having a full stomach. But to be fair, my ex-wife was a gem when it came to being an understanding person, and so were her parents. They were Irish. After a couple of years of dragging three babies all over the place, my inlaws just said, do what you need to do. Just stop by to visit; you don't have to stay for dinner.
Man, did I get lucky? You bet I did, but not after a few years of going crazy and trying to keep everyone happy. Remembering everything I went through, I did not want to put my kids through that. As my children got older and starting dating, and eventually got married, I insisted we honor our family traditions. However, with on important cavitate. I would tell them to do Christmas Eve with us and Christmas day with their significant other's family, and we would alternate other holidays such as Easter and Thanksgiving and switch the following year. That created peace in our world.
Tradition cannot be one-sided when there are other people involved. So eventually, over time, and people passed on, we merged all the families on the holidays. Which I particularly enjoyed.
WHAT DOES TRADITION STAND FOR:
Without realizing it, we all follow some form of tradition. We all follow the tradition of celebrating holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and many others. There are traditions in the fire service, the military, and many other forms of tradition. However, the one thing that lacks in many cases is respect for tradition. Or how we celebrate it. For example, it has always been a tradition to stand and place your hand over your heart during the playing of the national anthem. A tradition that has been respected and honored for many decades. In today's modern society, people still pause to play our national anthem, but rather than stand, many take a knee, and recently, some have turned their back on our flag. Certainly, everyone has the right to decide, but do you believe that is respecting tradition, our nation, or our flag? Or, are these individuals disrespecting not only our nation and all those living in it? In addition, are they also disrespecting those that have given their lives and the families who have suffered tremendous losses so these individuals could have their freedom and reap the benefits our great nation offers? These questions, along with many others, are personal opinions. But, in my opinion, they are both following as well as disrespecting tradition.
Freedom of speech, expression, and all other 1st. Amendment rights are important, but we need to have some common sense with everything else in life. Everyone has the right to speak their mind and express themselves, but they do not have the right to run through the streets naked or yell "bomb" in a crowded mall. The fact is, everything has its limits. Let's move on.
It's a given that I cannot tell my children how to raise their children. I can only hope they will take a combination of how they were raised, what they believe in, and continue to form their own traditions. I only strongly suggested that while I was alive, they respected some of our family traditions as they incorporated others into their lives and formed their own, which I gladly became a part of. I found that to be a great comprise, and we never had arguments during any holiday season. Nowhere is it written that your tradition is a law and can only be one way. That is a small-minded and ignorant thinking process. Tradition stands for what works for you and your family. Again, nowhere is it written that my traditions MUST be yours,m or yours must be mine. However, in the interest of a strong family bond, all traditions should be respected. If you expect someone to share in yours, you must be prepared to share in theirs when asked. It is a simple matter of common sense because nothing in this world will go one way. If something is, then someone is a lonely person.
Tradition is also about respect. Respecting what those before you have done and wish to continue while they live on this planet. Tradition is what you are used to. Another example might be, everyone makes tomato sauce. Yet, why do people like their mother's sauce the best? Because that is what they grew up with. That's what they know the best. That is not to say they can't enjoy someone else's sauce, but they will always be partial to what they know. The sauce they grew up on. In itself, isn't that also part of tradition?
Therefore, doesn't it make sense to say that traditions leave some lasting impressions? For the most part, I believe they do. However, life has changed. Two decades ago, not as many of our youth attended college. Most of them learned a trade. With many years of having the ability to receive a degree online, which I fully support, many people had progressed and received degrees. As I said, I fully support this. For anyone to better educate themselves is always a positive move forward. However, this had left a gap in the area of skilled labor. Also, with grants and scholarships being more abundant, more of our youth go to college in other states. They get settled there, make their life there, oftentimes finding jobs where they attended college. This leads to a lack of following the traditions they learned growing up. Therefore, I ask you. Is tradition as important anymore?
According to thinkimpact.com, this large influx of Bachelor's degrees has caused 53% of recent college graduates to be unemployed or not working in the field they chose to receive their degree in. Primarily because the jobs are not there. Also, we have such an influx of individuals with Bachelor's degrees, and many employers require a Masters's degree. Now, many of these students move on to post-graduate degrees. Again, a positive move forward. My only concern is that most of these individuals receive Master's degrees, and those jobs are filled. The others are left out in the cold. Will everyone eventually need to get a Doctorate to find a job. I remember the days when if you had a Bachelor's degree, you could write your own ticket to get a job.
Now, what does all this have to do with tradition? More than you think. With families now be spread all over the country, their family traditions suffer. Therefore, the importance of tradition and tradition in general suffers. However, in an article at ogilvyasia.com, the importance of tradition are important, and I agree because they provide each of us with four key essential qualities. These are known as the "Four B's."
Being, Belonging, Believing, and Benevolence.
Traditions provide us all with a constant. They give us all something to look forward to while keeping us grounded and focused on what really matters. For those that are not sure what benevolence is, it is the quality of being well-meaning, showing kindness to others, and do things for others. Doesn't it seem that some of these things are lacking in today's society? Therefore I conclude that tradition is important, and maintaining it is even more important. As I stated early, each family and generation will form their own traditions. This is perfectly normal and expected. However, it's important to pass those traditions down to their children, let their children establish their own traditions, and honor long-standing other forms of traditions.
Some say we have a broken society. A society that is spiraling downward at an alarming rate. Yes, some of this might be true. However, I believe we have a misguided society. One that may be being guided by those with personal agendas. Not necessarily agendas that are best for society as a whole. Of course, there are many theories about this with regards to our society. However, we must keep in mind what helps us as individuals, a people, a nation, a society, and much more is having a constant. Traditions are a constant. Therefore, never underestimate the importance and value of TRADITION.
Stay safe and be well,
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