La Verne Magazine
"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.