First, let me admit something. I’m not a fan of most traditions. In fact, sometimes I am unreasonably reactionary about traditions. Usually, my thinking tends to be, “Why is it a tradition? And what’s the best way we can change it?” It’s not your problem, it’s mine. There may have been a time in history when they locked people like me in the crazy house.
I also know that there is a place for tradition, and that it is absurd to forsake tradition for the sake of it. I know that I am not a better person than someone who appreciates the beauty and historical relevance of some traditions.
Sometimes certain traditions act as metaphors for stagnation and a fear of change. Today, for instance, was our school’s picture day. I have a funny feeling our picture day is the same as yours across town, or hers in another province, or your niece’s in the other country, or your sister’s across the ocean, or … You get the picture, so to speak. Here are a few rhetorical questions I have about picture day.
Why have we never changed one iota about picture day since the advent of the camera? Why must we group everyone the exact same way, in the precise order, with the irrevocable sitting positions?
Why can’t we have students taking the photos? Portrait photography is an unendingly artistic endeavour. Why must we strip this away and depict it as a mechanistic act?
I don’t really expect answers to these questions. Nor is picture day something I’m passionate about and interested in leading change against. I just can’t help notice the symbolism of it all.