I’m posting my Army Tradition talk one more time because I am FIVE views away from 1,000 people watching this video!! Wow! That’s huge for me. Not exactly a “viral” video, but good enough for me. Because I care very much about tradition. And I think it matters a lot in every aspect of our lives. As a culture in the USA, we’re forgetting that, I fear. It’s just too important to neglect. We need to know something about our foundation so we can continue to build in a way that makes sense.
To continue the analogy, if you are building a structure and decide you’d like to make it several stories high, that’s a problem if the foundation isn’t large enough or deep enough to sustain the height and weight of the thing! We also can’t go off in any direction we’d like without considering where we started or the whole thing could topple over and not only wreck countless hours of effort, but people inside the structure or walking around unaware outside of it could be injured or worse. Any structure will only be strong and reliable for all who utilize the thing when its foundation is sturdy and appreciated for the thought, the heart, the passion, and concern for future generations that went into the base.
We have to remember the reason for the whole enterprise getting started in the first place! What was the purpose? What did the founders have in mind for themselves and their progeny? And, often, for generations they could not even imagine? Did they build with a long range vision? We’d all better hope so! And we can’t just say, “Well, we’ve always done things this way so it will be fine,” because it won’t; nor can we say “What came before doesn’t matter because we are heading in a different direction now,” because we will often find ourselves ‘reinventing the wheel’ if we don’t know how it came to be.
The “why” of things matters. It always has and always will. The “why” gives meaning to our lives, whether we’re talking Military life, American life, life in our faith communities, or any organization to which we belong.
It’s a 46 minute video so I’ve gone on long enough. But try to apply some of what’s in here to other groups you are part of and see if you can answer the questions like, “Why does this matter to me? To us? What will change for the better and worse if we disregard the past, our traditions? Can we live with those changes? And is the trade-off worth it? What can we give up and what should we retain?” Because if we wholesale throw away the past and our traditions, we soon won’t recognize ourselves. That is not always bad if what we’re leaving behind was oppressive or dangerous. But if the ideals we want to disengage from were intended to bring harmony and to give everyone a voice or a chance to improve their lot, or if it gives us a higher purpose than merely taking care of ourselves, we might want to take a good, hard look at the foundation and think deeply about the consequences of our actions.
Traditions do matter, even in the 21st Century, in my humble opinion…