Follow your bliss
In its broadest sense, the concept of tradition embodies both behaviors and beliefs. Through one of its most effective definitions, tradition is presented as the sum of behaviors and beliefs held dear by a group of people or society and passed down from one generation to the next due to their special significance or symbolic meaning. It is impossible to have tradition without attaching special significance or symbolic meaning to it. So important are these two traits that they form the background of the definition of the concept and the setting on which research on the concept takes place. For instance, if traditions of a specific group or society are to be analyzed, the symbolic meaning and special significance will immediately stand out as some of the basic areas to analyze. The passing down of traditions from one generation to the next has is pros and cons. While traditions help to ensure generations are presented to symbolic meanings and special significance of beliefs and behaviors, they deter change and evolution in more ways than one.
One of the main motivations by the author towards his goal is drawn from the lack of creative writers during his era and the resounding need to become the first. This is well brought out in the atmosphere surrounding the announcement to his family that he would enroll in a creative writing course (Lam). His brother, who was an engineer, was so disgusted by the author’s choice of a career to pursue that he stormed out after being told about the news. The author’s mother was so heartbroken that she placed her hand over her mouth and began to weep. The author’s father not only cursed the author out, but also asked the author to name author with a Vietnamese background. Although he tried, the author was unable to name a single author in America with Vietnamese descent. Normally, this should have deterred him from pursuing his goal of becoming a creative content writer. However, it acted as the fuel that would propel him towards being the first creative content writer from Vietnam during his era.
The need to veer away from the traditional definition of academic success was a contributing factor towards the author’s decision to become a writer. Traditionally, students in the United States from Confucian-bound countries had a traditional inclination to business, mathematics, and engineering-based courses. This is evident in the number of students from Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, China, Japan, and Singapore who aligned themselves to engineering, business, and mathematics related courses (Lam). While they were generally sharp in the courses they chose to pursue, the traditional inclination of students from Confucian-bound countries acted as a determent for the author. For him, it was all about being different and steering as much away from the tradition as he possibly could.
The need to take on his father’s challenge and a deep sense of continued change and evolvement represent a contributing factor towards the author’s decision to become a writer. The author’s father had attempted to write when he was young but did not bring his efforts to fruition because he not only deemed writing to be outside the confinements of the tradition he fit in, but also being unable to fend for his family and his own needs. When the author presented news about how he was going to pursue academic excellence in writing, his father presented a unique challenge to the writer (Lam). He not only reminded him of how he had failed in his quest to study French poetry and pursue a writing career, but also asked him to think about how writing is not a financially stable endeavor. The author was determined to not only abandon the quest to fulfill his family’s expectations, but also become the best he could in both writing and journalism. In his new quest, he was faced with ever-mounting self-doubt, the ever-increasing demands of the writing life, a handful of insecurities, and the probability of regret. The author’s father had attempted to pursue and build his passion for writing. At the very least, the author was presented with an instance in the past and within his immediate family where he could trace his passion for writing or at least relate to it. This went a long way into fueling his desire to become the best he could in his endeavor to write and pursue a career in journalism. Coupled with the need to move away from the traditional cocoon, the author was growing more and more determined to become a writer and make a name for himself out of it.
Conclusively, it is evident to note that change and evolution are some of the main forces behind people steering away from traditions. The extract is rich grounds for analysis as the author has presented a perfect setting through which traditions, and their impact, can be effectively analyzed on a generational setting. The author’s parents, and his brother too, are a representation of the strong hold tradition has in light of life decisions. While his family expected him to conform to the expectations of tradition, the author stood out as a success story birthed outside the confinements of tradition.
Lam, A. “The education of a Vietnamese American writer.” HuffPost, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffpost.com/entry/follow-passion_b_2571529.