Our ancestors struggled with many of the same problems that we face. Their solutions are not always the best, but not always the worst either. Newer is not necessarily better. Find out why!
By Mark D. Harris
Last week I was on a mission trip to Chicago with the youth choir from our church, and one of my favorite parts was the chance to talk with the kids. I have been going for several years and have seen youth born since 1993 on these journeys. Also for the past three weeks, my family and I have hosted three women in their early to mid-20s working in Washington DC as part of a journalism internship for World Magazine. These groups represent the last half of the generation that demographers call the Millennials, roughly defined as people born between 1980 and 2000.
As we talked, one theme that arose was a tendency among some to dislike tradition. This theme is at odds with some data indicating that Millennials seek tradition, but the difference may be in semantics. Since in the course of normal conversation few people clearly define their terms, and we didn’t either, it is not certain what each person in my non-scientific sample meant. However it was apparent that each speaker had a slightly different definition, many relating the word “tradition” to the phrase “we’ve always done it this way.” Since authors from Tom Peters (born 1942) to Colin Powell (born 1937) have warned readers not to blindly adopt traditional ways of doing things, it is worth asking ourselves“What should we do with tradition?”