To some degree, each generation denigrates tradition. Without this, none would achieve enlightenment and we might all still be involved in activities that are unacceptable in most of today’s societies.
In the upcoming generation it is quite common to denigrate tradition for no other purpose than it allows an individual to stand out from the crowd. This is risky business in some situations, such as battle. Stand out in a battle an you likely we be shot!
In my youth I stood out by wearing Navy bell bottoms, allowing my hair to grow, and by putting on facial hair before my peers were even able to do so.
(Later, like in my forties, I bemoan this once treasured attribute, as my wife and daughter push me to enter the hairy back contest on board our cruise ship. Argh!)
While I was fairly rebellious in my teens, I rebelled mostly against my father’s authority. Never did I lose sight of what I felt was important in life, which was God, family, friends, living an examined life, and traditions.
Traditions may serve as guideposts as we move through this life. When confounded, we may use traditions to reconcile ourselves to choices so we might find clarity in a move forward plan. When we are uncertain what to do, we could do worse than acting in ways complimentary to how our family members behaved in similar situations. Had I been that considered in my youth, many people, including myself, might have been spared harmful consequences of the choices I made.
My brother supplanted my father as my leader quite early in my life, and had I not struck out on my own at the age of 28, I might have avoided the certain downfall in my mid-thirties. Having said that, the lessons learned during my thirties shape the man I am today, which I would not gamble on a second shot, even if I could.
Today’s youth are not unlike those of any preceding generations. They rebel because they want to be heard and to be validated. From my perspective, what is different today is the lack of value for traditions. Traditions define us. Look to any group for definition and the only measure available is its traditions. “What is this group about?”, you might ask. To answer this you may look at what values and actions they support. Those the group has supported over time are its traditions.
The American traditions are well known, and include; God, freedom, love of country, self-reliance and self-determination, love of neighbor, private ownership, unobtrusive government. These are what stand out most for me. These traditions seem lost on the American youth of today. Collectively, responsibility for this sorry state falls on ourselves, the parents of these youths.
Few amongst us care to change sans pain. Pain is the greatest of motivations. Great change is coming to America, and it will not come without great pain. To achieve greatness in this change will require great supplication to a loving and benevolent God, and the fortitude to listen and act on His command, to each of us.