What Do I Keep, What Do I Change?
¿Qué mantengo y qué cambio?
Our family didn't celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas. We had to learn about these traditions. My parents were against me showing our kids a new culture — but by our second year here, the kids asked, "Where's the turkey?"
- immigrant from Burma to Charlotte
From the time we are born, families and communities immerse us in tradition. Language. Humor. Art. Food. Music and dance. Beliefs about our world. Ways of interacting with others.
When our world changes, or when we move to a new place, we adjust our day to day ways of living. As we modify our habits, we change our cultural traditions — sometimes without realizing it.
We can ask ourselves questions about this process. Do we want to keep our traditions? Discard them? Strengthen them? Add what we've learned from new neighbors and family?
Young people face these questions with special urgency. As they move between home, school and friends, they shape their identities. As they decide who they want to be, they determine which traditions will be carried into the future.