In working with mission, vision and values we often hear stories. Some include traditions and there’s something in many of us that is attracted to tradition. For stability perhaps, sometimes as a guiding torch from the past to show the path forward. It’s a got a solid, perhaps staid, but reliable feeling, that word tradition.
Last night I saw the delightful New Zealand movie My Wedding and other Secrets. Chinese Kiwi girl meets Pakeha Kiwi boy but it has to be kept secret because of traditional Chinese thinking about mixed-race relationships. That it’s Chinese traditional thinking is probably of little consequence to the message here – it could easily be in reverse in some families.
It got me thinking (again!) about this tradition thing. My first reaction to it was that it was more about control – or more particularly losing it – than any value-driven tradition, that made Chinese Mum and Dad so difficult. I found it difficult to understand what the basis or purpose of the tradition was. It looked solely like a desperate bid to control a family and replicate the parents’ own experience. Apparently it’s based on a true story and I’m not surprised – it’s probably true many times over.
Having reflected for 24 hours I’m still in the same place. It sounds really obvious but when we refresh ourselves, our teams or our organisations we have to let stuff go – you know that – we say it too out loud don’t we? Traditions need to be on the table for culling too. They might be plain wrong. Are you hanging on to some apparently wise tradition from the past, when actually, you have more to offer, more enlightenment and wisdom than those that went before?
After all: Zeus, witches, a flat earth, smoking, hitting kids, only men voting or managing, racial segregation, state-sponsored religious indoctrination were the hallmarks of wise traditions in the past. And still are in some places.
Wise people live today, not just in the past. Chances are you’re one of them.
Don’t waste it.
ps it’s a lovely movie