Growing up I asked my mom what our traditions were. She said we really didn’t have any, that other ethnicities had them, but in our family there weren’t really any. Merriam-Webster defines tradition as being “an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)”. I later discovered that my mom and her family* had traditions, they just didn’t define them as such. Looking out from the inside, it’s hard to see what a tradition is if it’s something you’ve always done or taken for granted.
With the influx of new Americans post 1986 amnesty, and the continuing addition to our population, the traditions that were just always there, taken for granted, get lost with the blending of the population change. Different groups of people, from different parts of the world, form new communities and the traditions either blend or get lost in time which make up the regional differences that we most commonly notice when we travel to different parts of America.
However, there is a movement to intentionally destroy traditions in faith, family and God. Three things that most people, no matter where their families are from, have in common. Faith, family and God.
The black civil rights movement taught mainstream Americans how to tolerate our differences and accept each other as equals, and the women’s movement moved forward as well. Blacks, women, both single, married or divorced gained more acceptance, not just in the workplace, but in the community. The reason I mention single and divorced women, is because if they had a child, either out of wedlock, or while they were married then divorced, experienced discrimination as well, and had trouble finding a job in their community. Many women were forced to leave their hometowns because of the shame and ridicule placed on them. As the good Americans we were, based on our faith, we learned how to be tolerant and accepting of our fellow Americans who happened to be different, and rightly so.
But, tolerance and acceptance weren’t enough for many, people who lived with secrets that just needed to get out. Secrets that broke the bonds of traditions in ways that not only divided families and communities, but went against those shared beliefs. Often, those same beliefs were the only thing they had in common. The same traditions, in its most general form, are faith, family and God. Three common elements that are seemingly so extricable, that it was unthinkable to remove even one, and in doing so, would make possible the removal of the other two as well.
As faithful people, taught to tolerate, either by our family or religious community or faith leader, i.e. rabbi, pastor or priest; we are conditioned to express acceptance of differences that eventually include lifestyles that go completely against what we may have been taught as right or wrong. These are not differences at all, but rather, a chosen lifestyle. A lifestyle that is so different that even those living it are not satisfied with things as they are, and won’t be satisfied enough until traditions are destroyed enough so that they don’t have to feel so different anymore.
It’s impossible to make my point without offending some, however, that is not my intention, which is that tradition is the foundation of stability. Without stability, we will flounder in a constant state of flux so that not only will our society be unrecognizable, neither will our problems. There comes a point when we have to examine the difference between tolerance and acceptance, and then decide for ourselves what substantiates tolerance and what substantiates acceptance.
Tolerance, as an indulgence of beliefs or practices that are different, makes way for a peaceful coexistence, or at the very least, agreeing to disagree. With tolerance, we learn not to make waves, or cause arguments, or not to insult or offend.
Acceptance is to give admittance or approval willingly. If we are forced to accept something, it is no longer an acceptance if it is not done willingly. No one can force us to accept something, only to appear that we accept something. That’s where the destruction of tradition comes in. By breaking the bonds of faith, family or God, we become open to acceptance of certain lifestyles that we may otherwise not approve of, and the door opens wide to many other possibilities of acceptance.
The moral fabric of our society is eroding at such a pace, that we need to examine our own views, our own traditions, and hold on to the very foundation that made our country and our communities hold strong for 237 years. There comes a time when it’s necessary to draw a line in the sand and say “no more”, and that our beliefs count as well.
Individuals are being discriminated against because of faith, or urged to hide their belief in God, or are ridiculed because they believe in strong, traditional families. We as a nation, need to be able to stand our ground, and not only teach our traditions to our children, but live our lives according to the very values and morals that made this country great: our belief in faith, family and God.
Our very foundation is eroding as a people, and if it continues, behaviors that are currently against the law will not only be legal, but it will be too late to begin repair the damages done to the necessary structure that make stability as a people possible. We owe it, not only to our children and our children’s children, but our offspring many generations in the future. We cannot think only of ourselves and live for the day, the choices our generations make now will be the inheritance of the future generations. Tolerate, accept and choose wisely.*Mom and both her parents are of English descent
Poached egg on toast is a common English breakfast recipe