Tradition is a guide and not a jailer. W. Somerset Maugham
It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition. Henry James
Everywhere, authority and tradition have to justify themselves in the face of questions. Gustav Heinemann
Everyone is influenced by tradition in some form or fashion for at least some period of time during their lives. The nature of our culture pretty much demands it. Like most things in life there are good things associated with tradition and there can be aspects as well. Where are the lines or boundaries of good and bad tradition?
We all do things in our lives because other people do them. For the most part, when someone discovers or does something fun, good, or worthy of our interest and efforts, it will be seen, copied, or adopted by those around them. Few days go by that a new fad or trend does not get started. Millions if not billions of dollars are spend every year by advertisers and marketers trying to influence us to join a trend or fad they are trying to create or promote. New products or services are offered that we often find ourselves believing we must have. Some things are so popular they get turned into traditions. Many of our holiday festivities are traditions. At some point they were new and not observed on the level that they are today. Christmas, Easter, New Year’s, Independence Day, Valentine’s, Halloween, birthdays, graduations, and even the Super Bowl are but a few of many traditions both old and new. It is said that the Super Bowl is watched by as many as 100 million people. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, weddings, funerals, baby showers, family vacations and so many things can be categorized as traditions. For the most part many our traditions can be said to be a very good thing.
There can be fine lines between what is called tradition and prejudice or discrimination. We can look back and observe prejudice and discrimination of whites for blacks, it was considered normal and appropriate by many people, it was traditional. Discrimination against women, Hispanics, the handicapped, homosexuals, the Irish, the Catholic, Jews and so many more was normal and traditional. It has been traditional for some groups wanting to feel superior to others. This has almost always existed all over the world in all cultures and throughout history.
Traditions should not be based on hate, intolerance or to cause harm or hurt to others. Anything done at the expense of someone else is morally wrong. Living by the Golden Rule should be our greatest tradition.
Challenge: What traditions do you recognize and practice? It is good to know the reasons and history of your traditions, beliefs, and practices. The things that are good and worthwhile deserve to be honored: the harmful or hurtful do not deserve to be a part of your life? It is always good to be aware of the motives and reasons behind the things that have become a part of your life. Is there anything that may deserve to be changed or eliminated?
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. Isaiah 32:17
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
The best attitude is based on a spirit of love. It is the power of love that allows us to rise above conditions and be more in control of our thoughts and actions and less reactive to them. Those who seem to have it together are those who have good attitudes about themselves and their lives. We will always be limited both in our attitude and our ability to love because of our sinful nature. God enables and shows us the way to have a loving attitude.
Prayer: Help me to overcome my selfish ways and to learn to have a more loving attitude.