La Verne Magazine
Winter 2000

"Tradition & Change"


From the Editor...

by Stacie N. Galang

Change -- that reliable constant or, depending on the day, nagging burden. Most of the time, it moves past us at such a speed that, thankfully, we can hardly fathom its impact. And then there are the moments when, among friends, family, even strangers, we attempt, however feebly, to give it context. The comments, "kids these daysor when I was young. . ." wreak of either sentimentality or skepticism. Even in my own brief existence (emphasis on brief), I find myself uttering the words, "I remember when." (I crack a half smile toward the cheek that shows the dimple, and a twinkle comes to my eye.) "We used to wear neon T-shirts, ewww day glo-like, oh, the hu-MAN-i-ty (obligatory eye roll). And Madonna, she like, wore fishnet stockings and a kazillion bracelets, like, oh my God!?" Who knows, the woman may have sported her fishnets yesterday.

Tradition, on the other hand, is perhaps humanity's attempt to dismiss change and subsequently give what's left context and meaning. Like a strobe light on history, tradition parses time into fractious snapshots -- bite-sized tidbits -- and then threads it together. We revel in our cultural traditions and grapple to maintain them. We have traditions wherein our nuclear family celebrates birthdays and holidays-carefully planned traditions and ones that just crop up seemingly from nowhere. Sports have their own traditions too. Competition has its way of breeding them. Ah, the timeless seventh inning stretch and cheerful fans roaring, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Institutions of higher learning have their traditions as well. Alumni flock to homecoming games to remember days of yesteryear. Some traditions are better left to history. Last year's tragedy at Texas A&M reminds us that sometimes we are blinded by our obsession for tradition. To what level will we take it? Will we insist upon flying the Confederate flag above our state capitol building? Will we risk our lives?

We strive to have some constancy. How many times have we seen the words, "first annual"? -- perhaps wishful thinking or another attempt to create tradition, familiarity, solace. Tradition and change at times seem unlikely partners, yet they are inexorably married. The union is at times blissful, at times bitter.

So we cannot very well stop change, the fine lines on our face that widen over time to become wrinkles, nor would we want to, at least not without the help of modern technology. But we can dust off our old school sweaters, sweatshirts, what have you, don the green and orange, drag our children to a football game they have not the patience to understand or appreciate and maintain our traditions.