I don’t know where I first heard this story, but I’m sure from several sources.
A young girl was in the kitchen with her mother about to cook a pot roast in the oven. The mother got out her recipe that that been handed down through generations. The first and foremost step was, ‘Cut the ends off the roast.’ The little girl wondered why this was the first step, as it didn’t seem to serve the actual dish at all.
She asked her mother, “Why cut the ends off the roast first?”
To which her mother replied, “It’s just tradition. My mother always did it that way.”
The next weekend the girls Grandmother was visiting, and the little girl was remembering the roast. She asked, “Grandma, why cut the ends off the roast first before cooking it?”
To which her grandmother replied, “It’s just tradition. That’s the way my mother always did.”
A week or so later, the girl had the chance to visit her great-grandmother. She was determined to get to the bottom of this tradition, and asked her great-grandmother, “Grammie… why cut the ends off the roast first before cooking it?”
Her grandmother just looked at her and smiled, “When I first wrote the recipe, my pan was too small to fit the entire roast.”
I personally love this story, because of the insight it provides into many of the ‘traditions’ we blindly adhere to without knowing why we do it. I’m all for tradition if it serves a purpose, and is keeping something alive, but how much of the tradition is done for the sake of the tradition? How many traditions have a meaning completely enshrouded in mystery because the original purpose has been lost through the ages? Far too many unfortunately, and our Western culture especially has a bad knack for clutching to the last strings of a ‘tradition’ when it no longer serves the original purpose it was conceived for in the first place.
I implore you this week, to break down your traditions, and realize what purpose, if any, they serve. What you choose to do with the tradition after that is up to you, but for now, try to understand what ends we are trying to meet, and if we are actually getting any closer to a deeper understanding of who we are, or merely going thru the steps with a confusion we’re too proud to admit. You might find your sense of ‘tradition’ is seriously holding you back.