Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
FireKat

Traditions and changes

Recommended Posts

Other threads are touching on this subject along with other topics so I thought one just on this should be started.

 I, personally, like many traditions. I also like some changes. It is hard to find a balance between the two.

Our church has traditional services but has also started non-traditional type services. I tried the new ones at the urging of my son who likes them. I found them not quite to my tastes but I do not advocate stopping them just because I do not care for them. They get the job done by encouraging more of younger people to go to church. But should they stop the traditional services?

Scouts is an old organization with an interesting history. I dont think that we should dump traditions just to try to get a few more numbers.

Update a few things to stay with the times but do not wholesale trash things because they are traditional (i.e. stuffy, not cool, not modern, not hip, and all the other slang that has been used over the last 100 years)

Your views?

FK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, there's an old story I remember hearing from a fellow Beavah. During the Exodus, the Israelites are being bitten by snakes, so God tells Moses to make a snake statue, and all who touch it or look at it are cured.

 

Years later, that same snake statue is in Jerusalem, and is being venerated as a sacred tradition. So the prophet Elijah, at God's command, goes and smashes the thing to pieces.

 

Some traditions outlive their purpose, and become counterproductive to the task at hand. Even though people find them moving or meaningful, they no longer serve the purpose for which they were designed, and may even become idols.

 

Our valued tradition is of young men playing, learning, and being guided in the outdoors. Everything else is trappings. Don't throw out things that are currently working for youth; kids need a connection to that past, eh? But don't hold on to things just because once upon a time they were helpful in our youth.

 

Listen to da kids, and never sacrifice a kid to an old fart's Idol, eh?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(chuckling....)  :)

Thanks for the smile!

I think you hit it - talk to the kids!

But you must listen to what they say.  We adults think we know what it best or what they want. 

As to change:  I do not want to see change for changes sake or as a new money-making ploy as has occured in other area such as cheerleading.  Remember when there was just one uniform?  How many do they have now and how much does it cost the parents?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've heard it say that "tradition is when we've forgotten why we do something".

 

There is a reason why we doing things. Too often that's forgotten and good things get turned into bad things because people forgot (or don't try to find out) why we doing certain things. Sometimes the things we call 'hazing' started out as good things for good reasons, but the reasons are soon forget and things get out of hand, and so must end.

 

 

I'm also reminded of a recent book called "Last Child in the Wilderness". One of the National venturing guys was reading it at a training event I attended. The author looks into what he called "nature deficite disorder", which he descripes as the urbanization of children who have lost touch with nature. Something that they can rediscover thru programs like scouting. I haven't gotten the book yet, but its now out in paperback. I think they mentioned it in a recent issue of Scouting magazine, but I think it deserves a larger book review there.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a story which illustrates the syndrome:

 

Scientists conducted an experiment. They placed 5 monkeys in a room. In the room was a ladder, and a bunch of bananas near the top of the ladder. The monkeys immediately began to climb the ladder to reach the bananas. But whenever a monkey tried, they were all blasted by a high pressure water hose. They soon learned not to try to get the bananas. Then one of the monkeys was removed, and replaced with a new monkey. The new monkey started to climb the ladder to reach the bananas. The other 4 monkeys immediately attacked him and beat him to stop him, because they didn't want to get hosed. The new monkey thus learned not to try to reach the bananas. Then another of the original monkeys was removed, and replaced with a new monkey. The new monkey started to climb the ladder, and all 4 other monkey attacked him to stop him, until he too, learned not to try to reach the bananas. Another original monkey was replaced, then a fourth one, with the pattern repeating. The fifth and last original monkey was replaced, and the latest new monkey was beaten as usual when he tried tried to reach the bananas. He asked why, and the other 4 monkeys replied, "Because that's the Way We've Always Done It".

 

There is nothing inherently wrong with traditions.

 

However, they sometimes can become ruts. There is nothing wrong with questioning the status quo, and trying to find out if there is a better way. If you can't find a good reason for doing things the way you do, maybe it's time for a change. This is a battle I face constantly on my job, as well as within my troop committee.(This message has been edited by Eagle76)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Traditions are good as long as they serve a purpose and we know/learn the meaning behind the tradition. There comes a time though when we sometimes need to respectfully bury the old tradition. And sometimes start new traditions.

 

My vocation (fire & emergency services) is steeped in traditions that are an integral part of the bond holding together all firefighters as brothers & family. But even we get trapped at times as noted in this firehouse quip: "Two hundred years of tradition unimpeded by progress." (Look on the wall in the background of the fire station scenes in "Backdraft."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A scientist put 5 monkeys into a cage and they were given three poles that could be telescoped into one long pole. Outside the cage a bunch of bananas were placed. The monkeys figured out how to successfully make one long pole fairly quickly, so they used it to clobber the scientist. First things first.

 

Traditions are foundational to preserve the intent of the founder. By the way, Moses was commanded to make a copper fiery serpent that was to be used to cure snake bites, if a person looked upon it (followed orders). 700 years later, it became known as Nehushtan or just something made of copper. People had forgotten their heritage and their traditions, so it was broken into pieces (*there were many more violations than just this one thing) but it was too late and it was captivity time for those that had forgotten.

 

Moses broke the *tablets which were later put in the Ark of the Covenant. It was thought that they might have some relevance (*the 10 Commandments, they were broken in spirit and physically, I might add, right away.) The act of breaking them or putting them into the Ark was not to put away tradition but to enhance the sacredness of something that will always hold relevance to mankind.

 

Six Scout leaders were sitting around a campfire late one night. They all wore the same kind of round Smokey hat and red coat. The topic of conversation was which tradition should be thrown over board first so that Scouting would be more relevant. The first one said that he would throw his round Smokey into the fire to get things going. All agreed and everyone pulled their hats off and threw them into the fire. The next one said that he would get rid of his expensive red woolen jacket. They all agreed and threw them quickly into the fire. The next one stood up and said that he would get rid of his expensive leather hiking boots, so all went into the fire right away. The next one got up and said that his uniform was next so in went all of them as well. They all stood up in their longees, drank the last of their coffee and finished it off by throwing their favorite coffee mugs in without any ceremony. Then they all crawled into their sleeping bags and the last one unplugged the fire. FB

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know what you are drinking Fuzzy, but I'd like to know where I can purchase a bottle. ;)

 

A side note.....we are under a burn ban here in OK due to dry conditions. Our campfire during the first weekend of WB was indeed plugged in. Now that I think about it, we were in the middle of a field, far from any buildings and I have no idea where they ran the extension cord from. Perhaps it was battery powered. Hmmmmm?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there is a line between tradition and habit. In my mind a tradition is beloved and has meaning. A habit is just a lazy way to avoid having to make fresh choices.

 

I love tradition but think some people use that word to avoid having to take responsibility to make a change. My biggest pet peeve is the phrase "but we've always done it that way", especially when answering a question from a youth or a parent. If we don't have a better answer than that, perhaps its time to either find a real answer or re-examine the "tradition" in question. Sometimes an old tradition takes on more meaning when we discover the real reason for it.

 

Change simply for change sake is as foolish as merely continuing to do the same thing because you are unwilling to try to make a change. In Nephew's Troop they "traditionally" required all SPL's to be Star or Higher. At a recent election that meant 1 boy (out of eligble and willing). Nephew suggested opening it up to 1st Class and higher....taking a step towards changing a Troop "tradition". It was something he felt strongly about, thought about for a long time, and was important to him.

 

I'm not a highly religious person but I do use the Serenity prayer as a guiding principal....especially the "...and the wisdom to know the difference". I don't always succeed, but that's the goal to which I strive.

 

YiS

Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My pet peeve phase is "fourty years ago..."

This came in fire department meetings.  Everyone knows they have long traditions but must change with the times for life or death reasons.  One old FF kept resisting any change and started every argument with that phase.  Even the new use of air packs.

Change when  it is needed not just because you can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Changes in Scouting have been a standard since I can remember.

Here are a few:

 

First Class, Morse Code required.

First Class without Morse Code.

First Class with specific requirements with optional Belt Loops, such as Communication

First Class in a year.

 

Each of these changes brought out the Old Codger in me for a time. I had to trust that somebody was making good choices and that they were not just giving away what had become special.

 

A really bad choice was made during the 70's. People left Scouting by the thousands over the new and improved program and many were even "kicked out" for not agreeing. When the administration saw the error of their ways, they reversed field and Green Bar Billed it. Slowly the numbers came back.

 

Tradition has to do with the depth of attachment that an individual has for something. If you take the wrong tradition away, there will be those that lose their attachment. So, it becomes very important to change slowly and carefully.

 

Does anyone remember the new metallic Scout badge? They used the basic old badge but made it wider and sleeker. They tried to infer change. Many of the faithful disliked what they were doing but tipped their hat to the change.

 

The old WB grew into a Good Ole Boys Club where either you were in or you were out, according to certain made up rules. It was a good course and I will always pay homage to the curriculum. It is funny but I remember hearing people say that they had been to management training and they had learned nothing new much like what I hear from the new and improved model today. I also have noticed certain Scouters becoming the authorities on WB, hints of the God Ole Boys Club again.

 

Change is difficult. In my work the new leader said we would get used to the changes. It was something new every month for about four years. They made the work so difficult and constricting that now they can't get new people trained and most leave out of shear frustration. The leadership failed to recognize that there has to be a balance between the old and the new. Most of the old people are just hanging on until they retire, so they care very little about the quandary that all of the new has made for us. A close friend that died a couple of years ago would always put on a great big smile when another change would our way come. He would say, don't get in a hurry to jump on the new bandwagon. They will just change it again." The reason that it had to be changed again and again was because the fix was always worse than the problem they fixed. FB

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason that it had to be changed again and again was because the fix was always worse than the problem they fixed.

 

Often. And every change will require some shakeout, some staff turnover, and some adjustment and debugging before its real worth is shown. Some gents want instant positive results from any change, and that's never goin' to happen, eh?

 

The alternative is we could be Ford. Just keep doin' what we're doin' because it's worked for us in the past, and it's a corporate tradition, eh? After all, there are a few dealers in Wyoming and west Texas that are still doin' a great job sellin' F250s, so that success must be mass-produceable. If only Ford would stick to the program.;)

 

Findin' the right balance and the right timin' is a tricky thing, eh? Best to be always thinkin' about "better," but not always acting. Certainly not jumpin' on a bandwagon without good info. Yet when it's time to tack, best all the crew be pullin' together. Those who passively resist change can leave the whole ship in irons.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bow to msnowman's wisdom and superior articulation. Habits which are "just a lazy way to avoid having to make fresh choices" are really what I'm railing against. And I share her pet peeve of "but we've always done it that way", and I capitilized the similar phrase in my story because I usually hear it uttered reverently, as if it were written in stone by the finger of God.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×