It is quite true that American culture lacks tradition, while many other cultures find tradition to be an extremely important element. However, if a tradition is not meaningful to you then I do not see the benefit in participating. For example, as long as I can remember I have been an atheist. Yet I completed my conformation, as it was a tradition that is important to my mother. However, I received nothing from the experience. I went through the motions feeling like a phony and an outsider. At one class my pastor asked who here was completing their journey solely at the discretion of their parents; I was the only one to raise my hand that day. I would like to say I was enlightened and had seen the error of my ways in not believing in religion but I did not. However, tradition can be quite powerful when it has meaning to you. I come from a small family where much of our extended family lives in England or has since moved to a different state. Therefore, for many holidays it is just my immediate family that we celebrate with and we struggle to make the day feel different than just an ordinary day. We have seen created many traditions in order to combat this. For example, on Christmas Eve we always have our family friends over and play games before attending midnight mass. Then when we get home, each member of the family opens one gift before going to bed. This gift is always pajamas and each person always wears their gift to open presents in the morning. These traditions mean more to me than those forced upon me. Therefore, if Cailleah’s father had forced the tradition of the ear piercing with menstruation, Cailleah still may not value the point her father was trying to make. If the tradition meant nothing to her then it is often ineffective. Sometimes I do wish our culture had more tradition; however, I have found that it is fun to make your own traditions and this brings you closer to those in your everyday life. It would be nice to have a tradition that brings to global community together but this community is so large this may be ineffective. I think it may be more effective to learn other culture’s traditions, to be invited to explore even while being an outsider. In Bali, we watched a traditional dance where they also taught us the meaning behind their motions. It was amazing to be able to witness their culture and traditions; it was a way of bringing two cultures together.
When reading “20 Elements of Rites of Passage” I found I connected most with numbers 14, 15, and 19: play, giving away one’s previous attitudes, behaviors, etc., and opportunities. I am still marveling that I was able to take this opportunity to study abroad and the many fun things I have done while I’ve been here. I have also learned to be more “go with the flow” and laid back. I am one to always worry about things I cannot control and I have found that worrying will not change what is going to happen, it will on thwart your current happiness. I hope to bring this quality home with me as it has caused me to be much less stressed over things I cannot control.
Digital story can be used to bring people together, to share the experience one has undergone. I was struck by Daniel Raza’s story the most as I found it quite interesting that he studied in Thailand for a few months and then moved to Cambodia for the duration of his study abroad experience. I really liked how he used pictures of the people he met rather than the places he saw. To me, this elicited a much more personal response and allowed me to connect more with his story.
Blumenkrantz, D. G., Goldstein, M. B. (2010). Rites of Passage as Framework for Community Interventions with Youth. Global Journal for Community Psychology Practice. 1 (2), 41-50.
Grimes, Ronald L. “Chapter 2: Coming of Age, Joining Up.” Deeply Into the Bones. N.p.: U of California, 2000. Print.
Digital Story Presentation Slides