Traditions are rites, rituals, actions, stories, language, gatherings, symbols that give a community a pathway to deeper meaning, purpose and a sense of belonging. Every family, tribe, sporting club, organization, culture or nation has its traditions. Tradition comes from an inner space that is seeking meaning, deep human connection and understanding. Men long for traditions, they nourish our spirits and when at their best, they ennoble us and those around us.
Good traditions create a sense of belonging and help us name, nurture and celebrate that belonging. We ‘buy-in’ more to the culture of a group when the traditions are real and relevant. They create shared ownership. One of their key purposes is to help give meaning to what is core / central to the life of the community; they give that community soul and depth. They express – beyond words, our common bonds, our core values, our reason for wanting to belong and our shared purpose. So often the best traditions are small and simple but speak straight to the heart of the matter.
There are both good and bad traditions and we have all experienced workplaces or sporting clubs whose culture was toxic. Often this toxicity is linked to bad traditions. When a tradition becomes an end in itself – it becomes hollow, devoid of its original purpose and creates a lack of balance and perspective.
Negative traditions can limit us and wrap the culture of the organisation in labels that suit the out of balance needs of a small few. Forced sculling (skolling) competitions, sexual acts, all forms of bullying and anything that robs a member of the community of their innate dignity are negative traditions and ultimately harm not only the individual but also the group.
On Anzac day in Australia each year we could simply have a public holiday. But instead in tens of thousands we gather and remember; the dawn service, flags half-mast, the last post, the eternal flame, the tomb of the unknown soldier, poppies, two up and more. Each of these gives us an insight and sacred entry point to the depth and meaning of the Anzac story.
On your own or with a few mates, answer the following:
OK Legends. Go create some lifelong traditions.
Pricey & Grego