In a world that is forever changing, it makes it all the more important to hold onto the traditions to maintain the connection we have with our culture.
As someone who is yet to live out her days in this scenario, it's crucial for me to find a balance between a well informed, up to date thought process and the age-old values of where I come from.
Growing up in India, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents because my father was a single parent. This meant that I was surrounded by people who were true to their roots. At the same time, the education system that I was exposed to was completely Westernized. Initially, it was hard for me to understand what was the right way, but as I grew up I knew I had to accept certain things from either side as well as reject things that didn't feel like the right answer.
I am not a religious person at all and I haven't been since 7th grade. When I announced to my family how I didn't want to take part in activities related to their beliefs, they did not take it well. They spent weeks arguing and emphasizing certain rituals, and it felt like being under attack. I didn't understand how my own family would make me feel like that and that's when I learned how important it is to be accepting of views that could be completely absurd to you but pragmatic to others.
It was then I decided to put my views aside and participate in all the religious activities my family perceived as vital. Even though I didn't agree with their beliefs, I understood how much they meant to them and I tried as best as I could to be involved, for the sake of tradition and maintaining our strong familial connection.
It wasn't always easy to do so but I am so glad I did because now that I'm away and often find myself in certain situations, it pays to have a mixture of the two to be able to understand, communicate, and empathize with all kinds of people.
I've had some people ask me how I plan to raise my kids since I don't believe in any kind of religion. They seemed concerned that I wouldn't be able to carry on our age-old rituals and celebrate the many holidays that they as Hindus enjoy. A few years ago, I would have snapped back and said that it's not necessary and there are more important things to worry about. However, I have learned that being in touch with the likings of an ancient culture means you feel much less lonely and have a sort of peace of mind no matter what your surroundings.
I feel like this is the case for many people my age because our generation has been the one to undergo the most change in terms of technological as well as ideological development. We tend to meet such a vast range of personalities that in order to be able to connect with them as people it's necessary to not be set in just a singular, stubborn way of life.
Hence, it also falls upon us to educate the next generation, to be able to inculcate in them the ideas and customs that can add much value to their lives. This is a big responsibility but it's also an opportunity to shape minds as well as allow the natural development of thought to take place which together would give birth to a fully rounded personality.
As for myself, I want my kids to know it all, even the parts that I may not agree with wholeheartedly. I want them to make the choice of what to accept or reject and hope they make the right choices themselves. I want them to stay true to who they are but also accommodating to the dynamics of this crazy world. I hope I can give justice to everything that was taught to me.