Summary and Exercise of Sharing Tradition
About the Essay
This essay Sharing Tradition has been written by an American writer Frank LaPena. Here in this essay, we can find the vision of sharing tradition through oral means which is the oral tradition. This essay is about handing on culture and values from generation to generation through oral tradition to maintain our traditional and cultural values in human society. Here in this essay, the writer has explained the importance of tradition for the people of this world and its preservation through the oral tradition which is an art form.
Here, LaPena has highlighted our traditional and cultural values which are very much vital for our bright future. According to him, we must listen to our elders to maintain our cultural and traditional norms and values. In this essay, LaPena has put forward his opinions in favour of oral tradition and its preservation. He has even talked about different factors which have affected oral tradition and created problems to maintain our culture and values.
Before You Read
a. Do you share your cultural traditions with your friends?
Answer: Yes, I share my cultural traditions with my friends. I tell them about my family's rituals, ceremonies and cultural events. I have even invited my friends to attend religious ceremonies at my home many times.
b. Did your parents tell you stories when you were a child? If yes, did they have anything to do with your culture or values?
Answer: Yes, my parents told me stories when I was a child. Their stories related to religions had a direct connection with my own culture or values. Their religious stories taught me the actual sense of my religion and its norms and values.
c. Should we preserve our cultural values and traditions? Why?
Answer: Yes, we should preserve our cultural values and traditions. We should preserve them to maintain our cultural and traditional values in our life. Due to their preservation, our life can move ahead along with the right thoughts and decisions. Our cultural values and traditions always show us righteous paths in our lives.
Who is the writer of Oral Tradition?
Sharing Tradition by Frank LaPena Frank LePena talks about the importance of oral tradition. In this essay, he keeps on telling all his readers about his experiences and thoughts related to oral tradition. According to him, the oral tradition refers to a form of art of human communication where knowledge, art, ideas and cultural material is received, preserved and transmitted orally from generation to generation. In other words, oral tradition is about passing on information related to cultures and values from generation to generation through oral means. This transmission is made through speech or song, folktales, ballads, chants, prose or verses etc. Oral tradition helps to maintain the values of the culture. The task of sharing tradition isn't minor. The task of sharing tradition through oral means seems easy to talk and write but quite hard to practise. Here, both the elders and young people play a very vital role to maintain and preserve the values of the culture.
The role of speakers (elders) and listeners (young people or followers) is very important. The knowledge of close elders related to cultures, traditions, religions, and values must be listened to and followed properly by young people. The elders share the traditions and various concepts related to cultures and values with the young people. After the death of elderly people, young people have to fill up their places being responsible. They have to take responsibility for sharing tradition after elders through oral tradition to maintain cultures and values in their community. In this way, the oral tradition keeps on moving from generation to generation preserving cultures and values. Young people are able to make elders alive by maintaining their concepts of tradition and knowledge of life in the community.
The concepts of elders move from generation to generation being immortal. Tradition keeps on moving ahead properly if we are aware of our culture. The lifestyle of elders, their concepts related to life, belief, religion, culture, values etc made them capable to acquire the ideal position in their life. They kept on sharing their tradition orally from generation to generation for the welfare of humanity. They showed the righteous paths to survive ahead. Their acts of sharing tradition were for the future of the coming generation and their life. Oral tradition is the educational tool for understanding this natural world. It is the proper way to secure the cultures and values of the people. According to the writer, there are some problems with maintaining oral tradition from generation to generation.
These Problems of Maintaining Oral Tradition
1. Difficulty in filling up the 'niche' of elders:
To maintain our culture, it is necessary to pass on the oral tradition from generation to generation. The young people have to listen and follow their elders and fill their ideal position (niche). But, the task of filling elders' places is very difficult. The young people and their interests in their culture seem weak because the elders' religious obligations as religions, ceremonies, dance etc are related to their culture. In modern times, young people don't prefer to listen to them and maintain culture and tradition. The niche of elders has become hard to fill up. Due to this, a problem has been seen in passing oral tradition from generation to generation to maintain culture and values.
2. Impacts of modern technology on people:
Every generation faces new and modern technology which replaces the old things and concepts. The modern world and its people are moving on with drastic changes ahead along with modern technology. In the name of development, various changes are being made in this natural world. Traditional things are replaced with new things. The change in climate and the natural world has been seen due to modern technology. People are seen as very busy with modern technology. Modern technology and their loneliness have separated them from each other. In this situation, it is difficult to maintain traditional and cultural values through oral means due to the lack of active listeners or followers.
3. Modern Educational System and its impacts:
The modern educational system and the way of perceiving it divert people's minds. The knowledge in the present time is perceived through doing research and collecting data. The oral materials which researchers get in the field related to tradition may not be correct. The information related to oral tradition is even modified while printing. But, the information of oral tradition can be modified or even corrected through oral means. The educational process forces people to accept the information from the printed pages which are full of errors and very difficult to correct. The published information related to cultures and values creates a kind of problem in passing on cultures and values from generation to generation through oral means.
4. Source of information and way of perceiving and sharing it:
Oral tradition is fully dependent on oral means. It doesn't have any writing records as a literary tradition. The provided information by the speakers is transmitted mistakenly sometimes. Sometimes, the information is even perceived mistakenly by the listeners. Due to the gap between generations, the truth of the elders' historical information might turn into fantasy for the listeners. In this situation, it becomes quite difficult to validate oral tradition or traditional stories. There must be a proper understanding between the speakers and the listeners. The listeners must have belief in what they are listening to. The way of perceiving and transmitting information must be made keeping trust in our traditions and elders.