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No, it's not Fiddler on the Roof time. But I'd like to talk about the importance of tradition.

I believe a big part of the reason Creator puts us in this world is to learn, and to teach others what we learn (especially our children). If we ignore or disregard traditions, then the learning and teachings of our ancestors was in vain.

On the other hand, we should not blindly follow traditions - there's no learning in that. We need to understand them.

Knowing the why and how of a tradition is part of the learning.Take the following story, for example:

A young wife was busy preparing a holiday meal for the extended family, and she wanted everything just right. Her husband was helping out. He was about to put a ham in the large roasting pan, but she stopped him and cut the ends off the ham first. He asked why she did that, and she told him her mother had always done that. He asked why her mother had done that, and she realized that she didn't know why.

After the meal, the young wife asked her mother why she had always cut off the ends of the ham, and her mother told her it was because the old roasting pan had been too small to fit a full sized ham.

This lady's roasting pan was plenty large enough to accommodate the whole ham, but she had been carrying on her mother's old practice of cutting off the ends without knowing why her mother had done so!

Our Cherokee ancestors were sometimes critcicized by other tribes because they readily adopted European practices when they found them to be advantageous. But our ancestors didn't blindly embrace all the European customs, nor discard all their own traditions.

In the 1950s, Broadcast Radio wasn't scrapped just because Television Broadcasting had come along. Radio programs actually fill niches television programs can't (entertaining and informing car drivers, for example).

Similarly, sophisticated wireless communications systems like cell phone and computer-controlled two-way radio networks didn't eliminate Ham Radio. These newer, more complex communications systems aren't nearly as reliable as the simpler Ham radios are when disaster conditions occur.

It seems pretty clear that older, simpler things shouldn't be discarded just because something newer comes along.

Yet American Culture has largely become a throw-away culture. Anything old is often considered useless, and anything new tends to automatically be considered as better.

It's important to preserve our Cherokee ancestors' traditions. If we lose them, not only was our ancestors' learning in vain, but we also lose something we may need ourselves in the future.

Western Culture is finally learning the importance of the natural world. We're over-consuming our resources, and that can't last. Some accomodations must be made in learning to live with the environment. Our ancestors learned this long ago and lived accordingly. We can use that knowledge.

Socially, Western Culture is coming apart at the seams. The basic respect and reverance our ancestors had for Creator, our fellow man, and our natural world are largely missing. Here too, some accomodation will eventually have to be made.

There's a third reason why it's important to preserve our ancestors' traditions. By sharing in their traditions, we can gain a sense of continuity with them. Jesus said the two most important things of all were loving God, and loving others as ourselves. Within family, ties of love should be especially deep. I may not have known my ancestors, but if I can dress the way they dressed, eat what they ate, do things as they did, take part in their ceremonies, etc., then I honor them, and gain a sense of connectedness with them.

So. Learn the traditions eagerly. Learn them well. From where else do you think YOUR descendants will learn them?