TRADITION: Just because you’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly stupid

I thought I would take our blog to a different topic and discuss “tradition”.  Now before we get too technical let’s think about what hinders us from moving forward in our community.  It seems as though “tradition” in the sense of attitude, the past, our experiences, perceptions and even perhaps our way of behaving can cause us to be trapped in a thought that nothing will ever change.  I have this poster displayed in my office and think often of what needs to be done to move forward in business, in life or in the pursuit of happiness.  Many traditions are good, but when a tradition OR a way of doing things hinders us from moving ahead to perfect our quality of life then maybe its time to change it.  We have discussed so many items already about negativity and perception of our community.  For us to move forward we must let go OR learn from our past in an attempt to find new ways of doing things so we can achieve positive results.

I will share a few examples; several that I hope to discuss and organize some thought around for future blogs.  The first is Education.  When you think about the days we were in high school we had many “traditions” and the experience in high school was much different than it is today.  Our four year tradition continues decades later but is it working in our modern day today?  We are holding on to the typical classroom style teaching that once worked for many of us but the results in todays schools across this country are not working for every student.  Look at it this way… 1/3 of students are most likely ready to begin college much sooner and are most likely not impressed with typical high school traditions, another 1/3 of students are performing well academically, involved in sports, go to dances and love the traditions that we all enjoyed growing up, and the final 1/3 of students don’t fit in, aren’t performing academically, don’t participate in sports or other activities and most likely aren’t interested in a four year college.  Tradition in this case keeps us working toward similar results for students but the tradition simply doesn’t fit ALL and we are hindering our ability to change the way we meet the needs of these students.  Looking at the results I think we could all agree that “traditional” high school experiences aren’t working for the majority of our students.

Now, looking at our past I can give a positive example of a “tradition” that once worked yet we no longer follow.  That tradition is family time.  In todays’ world families spend less than 1/2 the time together that many of us did growing up.  Families are in 70% divorce, finances are a struggle, kids are often left on their own, and the traditional style of family night, games nights and time together is lacking.  A tradition that once worked is not commonly practiced and again I ask that we look at the results.

So the question remains: just because we always did it that way doesn’t mean we have to continue.  So lets talk about things we would like to see change and maybe those that we need back.




    You should tell Patrick Cunningham and his followers that just because they have always voted for democrats doesn’t mean that it is not incredibly stupid.

  2. Denny Wallace

    Mike… I err towards doing things different just to see what happens… Such an approach is mostly whacky but I really like such abstract out-of-the-box thinking…. Mainly because so many things we do today are “tradition based” and have very little to do with “the best way… most efficient way… let alone achieving the results we intend or desire…”

    At 55+ years of age, I think more freedom to chose leads to a better outcome rather than “good-intentioned” people deciding what’s best for me (or others).

    I pick on Schools TODAY because they look so much similar to the schools I attended in the 60’s and 70’s… Yet my-oh-my has the world changed many times over… YET WHY?

    Answer mostly tradition… Todays parents (all too often) expect Schools to be like what they remember… YET WHY?… I’m hear to tell you the schools of the 1970 era were FUBAR’s beyond anyone under 40 could ever imagine…

    Don’t people get it that todays outlandish behavior Sex\Drugs\Rock-n-Roll was born in the 60’s and 70’s… Many things that were commonplace in the 60’s and 70’s carry big time jail terms today or at least career ending\lifetime changing impacts today. (Not saying good or bad but just IS)

    Yet Sadly the 1960’s and 1970’s dollars spent upon Public School Education (probably at most $10 million) has skrocketed to $400 million dollars or close to $15,000 avg spending per Rockford School District student.

    Yet what do we get?

    Shorter School Day, yet same 172 day school year.
    650+ Special-Education Teachers to supplement the 1,000 or so real classroom Teachers
    Avg Teacher costs to taxpayer $83,000 and zooming up (Avg Pay = $65,000)
    Teaching in 90% of the exact same School Buildings I attended in the 50’s\60’s\70’s…

    And mostly Teachers standing up in the front of class talking while students are told to sit at their desk and shut-up and listen…

    And we actually wonder why todays 21st century students, coming from cell phones… instant texting… internet… 24\7 world ACT UP OR DON’T ACHIEVE ALL THAT THEY CAN BE IN ROCKFORD’S $400 MILLION DOLLARS SCHOOLS?

    Yep Traditions… Gotta love the logic!

  3. Denny Wallace

    “… Look at it this way… 1/3 of students are most likely ready to begin college much sooner and are most likely not impressed with typical high school traditions…”

    Both my kids took classess at RVC while still in High School (as do 100’s of local Kids… Yet the typical RVC class costs about $250 whereas the reported avg class costs Rockford Taxpayers $16,000 or about $650 bucks per student in a classroom with 25 kids. (+ other overhead and indirect costs transportation, maintenances, Administration, etc)

    Yet TRADITION I guess prevents us from loading up Busloads of those 1\3rd of kids ready for RVC and shipping them over to Rock Valley… and oh yea… saving 50% costs of educating each kid.

    Do you think maybe the Tradition-challenged thinkers might figure out if we saved 50% on 1\3rd of kids… That means we have a whole lot more money to spend on the 1\3rds… i.e. doing fine but maybe we could encourage them to achieve greater results…. and of course those bottom 1\3rd we are already spending big money on… We would have even more money to spend on them too…

    Reason we don’t…. TRADITION!

  4. Denny Wallace

    Nothing like the tradition of name calling… If you don’t agree with someone… call them names rather than actually engage in communication over what you disagree about…

    So NavyFlyer… Let me guess… Your thinking is that anyone who votes democratic = Stupid?

    Boy that’s a new tradition we need to stop!

    Whatever happened to our ability (i.e. tradition) to AGREE TO DISAGREE?

  5. JGordon

    Let’s try something different, and new here. One comment post, 120 words. That’s all we need to make a point.

    I’m going to try something different tonight. I’m going to sleep out in my yard. Just me lying in the grass, and nothing else (no blanket, pillows, nothing). Actually, this happens to me almost every night anyway. I’m a bit of a drinker.

  6. Denny Wallace

    “…One comment post, 120 words. That’s all we need to make a point….” Oh so you are the grand-phooba of what is too much?

    So I guess you aren’t going to try something different… i.e. You are a drinker and pass out apparently quite a bit… So what are you going to try different?

  7. JGordon

    You’ve inspired me Denny. You’re right. Thank you. I’m going to try something different and move out of my comfort zone.

    Tonight, I’ll sleep in your yard.

  8. Denny Wallace

    Just like Motel ^ “we’ll leave the light on.”

    You want some cheese with your whine?

  9. JGordon

    I’m lactose intolerant.

  10. Denny Wallace

    Damn… There aren’t many who can keep getting the last word on me… But I give you are the master of the 25 word Twitter sized comments.

    Nice dueling with you… See you around.

  11. JGordon

    You’re a good, concerned man with a lot of good things to say, Denny. I just like to give you a little playful static.

  12. Denny Wallace