A guest post by Frank Sonnenberg
When you hear the word holiday, what comes to mind? If you’re like most people, shopping, parties, sales, and catalogs rank near the top of your list. The truth is, many holidays are becoming so commercialized that our proud traditions are in danger of becoming trivialized.
Many of us can’t even remember the true meaning of the holidays. Memorial Day has morphed from remembering our fallen soldiers to the unofficial beginning of summer. Labor Day’s role in recognizing the achievements of organized labor now just marks the end of summer and a return to school. Veterans Day is honored as a day off from work.
Traditions represent a critical piece of our culture. They help form the structure and foundation of our families and our society. They remind us that we are part of a history that defines our past, shapes who we are today and who we are likely to become. Once we ignore the meaning of our traditions, we’re in danger of damaging the underpinning of our identity.
- Tradition contributes a sense of comfort and belonging. It brings families together and enables people to reconnect with friends.
- Tradition reinforces values such as freedom, faith, integrity, a good education, personal responsibility, a strong work ethic, and the value of being selfless.
- Tradition provides a forum to showcase role models and celebrate the things that really matter in life.
- Tradition offers a chance to say “thank you” for the contribution that someone has made.
- Tradition enables us to showcase the principles of our Founding Fathers, celebrate diversity, and unite as a country.
- Tradition serves as an avenue for creating lasting memories for our families and friends.
- Tradition offers an excellent context for meaningful pause and reflection.
As leaders, role models, and parents, we must strive to utilize every opportunity available to us to reinforce the values and beliefs that we hold dear. The alternative to action is taking these values for granted. The result is that our beliefs will get so diluted, over time, that our way of life will become foreign to us. It’s like good health. You may take it for granted until you lose it. If we disregard our values, we’ll open our eyes one day and won’t be able to recognize “our world” anymore. The values that support the backbone of our country, our family, and our faith will have drifted for so long that the fabric of our society will be torn.
This is adapted from Follow Your Conscience: Make a Difference in Your Life & in the Lives of Others By Frank Sonnenberg © 2014 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.