Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lists about Tradition

I go back to school in three days. Back to a greek system where everything is about tradition. Change is a four-letter word in our community, yet it is something that I love. I've been goal setting for my term as Panhellenic President, and it has gotten me thinking about tradition.

The dictionary on my MacBook defines tradition as "the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passes on in this way; a long-established custom or belief that has been passed on this this way."

Tradition can be so good:
  • It can hold memories and bring joy into life
  • It ties people together and makes us feel as though we're apart of something bigger than ourselves
    • Delta Gamma Ritual 
    • Celebrating Mass
  • Tradition can help us honor loved ones or something that we believe in
  • It can give us a sense of belonging, and help us form our identity

But sadly, tradition can be not so good. I've found that it can:
  • Diminish the desire for forward thinking and change
  • Force people to accept something that isn't right
  • Cause people to sing an awful Fiddler On The Roof song (sorry, couldn't resist)
  • Create an atmosphere of laziness, and unwillingness to come up with new ideas
  • Be an excuse to engage in behavior that a person typically would not believe in or support

I believe tradition is two fold. It really can be both good and bad. That is why it is always important to look at your actions and traditions and ask:
  • Does this represent what I stand for?
  • Does doing this allow me to be congruent with my values?
  • Will this help us become better individuals or a better organization?
If the answer is yes, right on. If not, maybe it's time to rethink some traditions.

The next time someone says, "we can't change it, we've always done it this ways," think twice before you agree with them. Starting a new tradition is just as wonderful as partaking in an old, positive tradition.

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