The danger of tradition

Photo by Greg Jeanneau on Unsplash

Most people are scared of change. Some more than others, but I think it’s a well-known fact that change is a difficult topic of discussion for many. And although tradition can be a beautiful thing, it can also be dangerous. And I feel like that often goes unnoticed.

There are all different sorts and kinds of traditions. You have the annual celebrations like Christmas and Easter. Or a tradition like visiting family once every month. And what about something completely different: organs being used in churches to accompany the singing. These are all different examples of traditions, but they don’t tell you the actual meaning of the word tradition. So before I’m going to continue, I’ll first tell you what exactly the meaning is of that word.

A tradition is a way of behaving or a belief that has been established for a long time, or the practice of following behavior and beliefs that have been so established: 

Cambridge Dictionary

I’m a very progressive person and definitely not traditional. This doesn’t mean that I hate Christmas or don’t like it to visit family often. No, not at all. It’s actually quite the opposite. I love those things. These are traditions I love because I love the meaning behind them. Especially as a Christian, Christmas and Easter are such meaningful holidays to me. I have absolutely no problems with traditions as long there’s good reasoning behind them. As long as they truly have meaning. So here comes the problem I have with many traditions. I feel like many of them don’t have good enough reasoning to keep existing.

It’s on different levels in society that I see this problem. My first example is school. Let me start with school. There are many teachers that still teach the same as it was done 20 years ago. Boring, right? Many teachers only teach straight from the schoolbooks. Creativity is what’s missing in these classes. I learned that the things we have to do in class for a subject can go beyond textbooks. My French teacher in high school showed me that. With the exercises she made up herself, she made the classes much more creative and fun. She was always experimenting with different ways of teaching. And that’s why found her truly an amazing and inspiring teacher.  My French teacher put the traditional way of teaching aside and looked for new ways of teaching because she saw that it made the classes way more interesting than when it was done in the traditional way. We still used the textbooks a lot though. So it wasn’t either just one or the other. It was a little bit of both.

My second example is the church. All my life I have lived in the same small town. It’s a very Christian town and I also have gone to church every Sunday ever since I was young. I know that there are many different kinds of churches, but the ones you can find in my town are mostly very traditional. All the churches mostly use their organ as musical instrument to accompany the singing. And there are also some other things that have been the same for decades. There is a group of people in the churches here that believe these things shouldn’t change. They don’t think anything could be wrong with it because there used to be a time that it worked perfectly fine. But what used to work then, doesn’t have to work today anymore. The traditional churches often like to put the blame on people for not attending church anymore instead of looking at themselves first. Because maybe the problem lies with them.

By the way, just because I’m talking negatively about the traditional churches, doesn’t mean I have turned against Christianity. No, not at all. I am a dedicated Christian and definitely not afraid to say that out loud. It’s just that I like the traditional churches less because of their vision. A more progressive church just fits me and my vision better.

I could name much more examples of traditions, but that would probably make this post way too long. So I will just get to my point.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with traditions as long as they have good reasoning behind them and still have meaning today. If they don’t, then I don’t think they should be maintained any longer.

What is your opinion on traditions? Let me know in the comments.

Love, Margriet

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