Traditions and Change


I don’t like traditions, but I have a hard time with change. It seems oxymoronic really. Like ordering jumbo shrimp. Or standing alone in a crowd. Or watching an awfully good television show. But like all oxymorons, though this idea seems contradictory, it actually does make sense.

Traditions can present problems for a number of reasons. First, they can become obligatory duties rather than pleasurable activities. Maybe you’ve eaten at the same restaurant on the same day of the week with the same people for the past few years, and while you still enjoy the company, what was once an enjoyable weekly pastime now seems like a chore. Why? Because you’re expected to be there. Sure, that’s what you’ve always done, but now it seems more like this is an expectation that infringes upon your freedom rather than one that fosters a sense of pure enjoyment.

This brings me to my second point. Doing something because that’s the way it’s always been done is no reason at all. It’s an excuse. Reasons have merit. Excuses lack value. Some traditions continue on because they are indeed enjoyed, but tradition for the sake of tradition is unnecessary.

And lastly, I don’t care for traditions because change is inevitable. For example, sometimes people can’t keep participating – or choose not to participate – in a tradition, and regardless of whether their reason for not participating is good or bad, their absence changes things. Perhaps a baby is born to a couple, and they can no longer attend the annual New Year’s Eve celebration anymore for obvious reasons. This would certainly be understandable, but it’s still change. Maybe a husband must attend a work swaray every New Year’s Eve because it is required by a boss who claims it’s a tradition. But then the boss leaves, and so the tradition dies. Some people may be relieved while others are disappointed. In this life, change is coming whether we like it or not.

Change isn’t something I’m necessarily used to though. (Then again, I guess you can’t really get used to change.) Honestly, my natural tendency is to resist change even when I know the change is going to be a good one, one for the better. However, constancy doesn’t always equal happiness. In fact, achieving happiness often requires change. The world around us is going to change whether we do or not, so I’d say it’s better to stay ahead of the curve rather than wait to be curved.

Change can allow for innovation, for advancements, and for refinement. I am teaching in a different county than where I originally thought I wanted to be, basically because it was a county other than the one where I grew up. But the county where I teach now has literally blown my mind with how wonderful it is, and my school has given me opportunity to grow and thrive as a teacher. This was a wonderful change for me! In fact, most all the changes I have made have been good changes. They’re often hard to hurdle, some more so than others. But once I’m on the other side, I’m always thankful.

My parents are moving from the house I grew up in. I am hopeful that my parents find a beautiful home that is worthy of them. If they had chosen to remain where they are, they would not be able to live in the location they want to now – and where I would love for them to be as well. This change is another good change. Besides, most importantly is that where they are is where my home is anyway.

You can try to refuse change, but it will happen anyway. And life will pass you by. It seems better then to be proactive. Perhaps rather than waiting for change to happen to you, as it inevitably will, make change happen for you. Embrace the good, and mix things up for the better.
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.”
Isaiah 43:18

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