Saturday, March 29, 2008

Traditions: Endangered or Lost?

This is about Traditions: customs, practices, doctrines, and knowledge transferred from one generation to the next. What follows is a review of traditions that once-upon-a-time defined our society, the American way of life, and our personal character. Some have disappeared completely; others are endangered of fading away. Still others have been shoved aside for reasons not explained. Are we better off with or without these traditions? You decide.

Traditionally, one took pride in their social and personal behavior: appropriate language, attire, grooming, personal demeanor, deportment, respect of elders, faithfulness, commitment, keeping one’s word, respect of property, cleanliness, courtesy, kindness, respect, thoughtfulness, moral conduct, trust, honesty, and responsibility.
Endangered or lost?

Traditionally, schools used to be a safe place for students.
Endangered or lost?

Traditionally, family, church, and school formed the bedrock of society. Each
agency worked for the betterment of individual’s lives and shared many of the
same objectives and goals. A Hallmark of this societal triad was their mutual support and respect of purpose.
Endangered or lost?

Education: Traditionally, we applaud academic success, athletic prowess, and achievement. Upon graduation each student was expected to have acquired an appropriate quantity, understanding and quality of citizenship, self-reliance effective language arts, communication skills, vocabulary, grammar, creativity, social skills and cognitive ability.
Endangered or lost?

Traditionally, parents taught their children Common Sense, nurtured self-esteem, assigned household chores, promoted family-centered values, demonstrated an
honorable work ethic, pride in one character, propagated religious doctrine, and
prepared a solid foundation for self-reliance, personal character, and challenges
of adult life.
Endangered or lost?

Traditionally, we used to take pride in personal letter writing. Today it’s email or text messaging: electronic scribbling that shuns proper use of the English
Endangered or lost?

Traditionally, parents and schools emphasized Reading , Reading Comprehension,
and Mathematics: today, many children are deficient in reading and mathematics.
Endangered or lost?

Traditionally, parents and schools emphasized spelling accuracy and legible
penmanship: today, spelling and hand writing is of less importance.
Endangered or lost?

Traditionally, families ate dinner together; parent’s monitored homework, read
bedtime stories, and said nightly prayers with their children.
Endangered or lost?

Traditionally, courtship engagement, marriage, children (in that order) was the
personal, social, and religious norm for standard moral behavior.
Endangered or lost?

And, consider these:
Traditionally, school began the day after Labor Day: today, the middle of August.
Traditionally, schools went on Christmas Vacation: today, winter break
Traditionally, schools went on Easter vacation: today, spring break
Traditionally, Christmas shopping season began the day after Thanksgiving:
today, it is the week before Halloween
Traditionally, shoppers were greeted with “Merry Christmas!” Today, it’s Happy
Traditionally, when one made a telephone call, it was answered in America
in English. Today, calls are answered by someone in a foreign country and you
have to Press 1 for English.
Endangered or lost?

Traditionally, a highlight of the fall season was the perfume from burning autumn
leaves. Today, one can get ticketed or arrested by the authorities.
Endangered or lost?

And here is one close to home: Traditionally, the logo of Whiting High School
has been the Oil Can. Today, it’s a derrick. When did the “Whiting Oilers”
become the “Whiting Derricks,” or the “Whiting Drillers”? For a ton of years, the
Oil Can was the logo on the gym floor, letterheads, Reflectors, jackets, coats, t-
shirts, and TATTLERS. There was even a giant Oil Can atop the concession stand
at the football field. In 1957, a teenage gathering place on White Oak Avenue for
Whiting High students was named: “The Oil Can!” Then, a number of years ago, a
derrick replaced the Oil Can. Has the school song changed? “Hail sturdy
derricks…, or, “Hail sturdy drillers…? For decades the school song began with:
“Hail sturdy Oilers…” What happened?

Endangered or lost?

We lose traditions through lack of knowledge or a disregard for historical significance, allegiance, and importance. Most of us only do what is important and meaningful. We set our priorities, decide importance, assign our standard of convenience and proceed. Historically, Whiting High School , “The Oilers,” has had a rich tradition that spans more than 100 years. Perhaps there should be a “History of Whiting” course taught as an elective in Whiting City Schools? Tradition is strengthened by education.

This came to our attention as the WHS Class of 1958 plans its 50-year anniversary of graduation. Over the years, to show its appreciation for traditions of its alma mater, The Class of 1958, restored and illuminated the outdoor clock above the main entrance of the high school in 1988; five years later, classmates added a carillon and chimes. This same class was the catalyst behind the “Walk of Fame” at the athletic complex where alumni, friends, and patrons of Whiting City Schools could purchase an engraved memorial brick. In 1998, on the 100th anniversary of Whiting High School , the Class of ’58 presented the School City of Whiting with the original Whiting High School flag designed in 1932. Members of this remarkable class understand and celebrate traditions. Hopefully, the “Oil Can” logo will be returned to its place of prominence as symbol of Whiting High School .

Where's Al going to be next???

Check back soon for his next appearance at a location near you!