[Editorial] Measure By Measure: The Role of Tradition in Times of Change
by The Milton Measure on Friday, June 8th, 2012
The 21st century is no era for slowpokes. I won’t bore you with the usual spiel about texting, email, social networking, the works— you already know that communication and daily life are constantly revving up in pace. Everywhere you look, it’s as though the planet itself is spinning faster and faster. For all the convenience and increased productivity that these innovations bring, we have to consider what is lost in this rush to have everything now.
As Milton’s official, historical newspaper, it’s not our job to cling blindly to the past— that being said, it is our responsibility to consciously preserve and continue the traditions that add value and meaning to the school community. We refuse to simply accept it as unchangeable fact that the vast majority of the student body will grab a copy of a paper, flip it over, scan the back page, and toss it aside. With narrowing attention spans and ever more hectic academic lives, the time (and interest) to sit and read seems to have gone up in smoke. With all the chaos of a standard Milton day–the assignments completed in the free before they’re due, the rush to make it from club meetings to sports, the nearly-missed bus–it seems almost impossible to find a moment to slow down and relax. Not to suggest that the Milton Measure is the height of relaxing reading material, of course.
With graduation comes the departure of a whole generation of seniors, off to college, careers, and a world even faster than the Milton microcosm they’re leaving behind. We encourage all seniors to take stock of moments when they could slow the pace of their lives; even though the school schedule seems busy, moments of reflection or just plain fun will become fewer and farther between as the responsibilities of life increase in college and beyond. Traditions, like the grabbing of papers at Friday recess, remain a crucial component of a balanced atmosphere that gives us an opportunity to sit back and enjoy the accomplishments and milestones in our personal and collective lives.
Graduation is one of the most celebrated expressions of this kind of retrospective tradition. It functions not only as a time to recognize the achievements of our peers, but also as a coming-of-age event for seniors as they leave the place that has nurtured them and made them well-rounded individuals. A key responsibility of any school is the creation of such opportunities for young and old to enjoy the past and express their hopes for the future. In the cyclical nature of every academic year, and the experience of each generation of students, Milton ensures a level of continuity that is refreshing in an ever-changing world that often ignores tradition in favor of transient fashions.
We don’t wish to argue that inflexibility and looking backward are the best aspects of richly historical places such as Milton; on the contrary, one of the challenges of running a school — a challenge that Milton meets very well — is finding a middle ground between tradition and innovation, between old habits and progress. As the seniors graduate, we as the board of Milton’s longest standing publication would remind them to always keep that balance in mind. Just as Milton constantly strives for institutional progress while still preserving the traditions which make it unique and beloved, so should we try to temper our constant drive to move forward with a healthy dose of retrospection. We can maintain what is best about ourselves, even while caught up in the whirl of the new faces and experiences beyond Milton.
As the Class of 2012 moves on to develop personally and to share their influence in the wider world, we should keep in mind how well they continued Milton’s traditions and improved upon them. The next generation of students would do well to follow in their footsteps next fall. Congratulations to the senior class on their excellent tenure at Milton! And by the way, please check out the web version of this issue at www.miltonmeasure.org– the Milton Measure may be traditional, but we’re not beyond adapting to changing times.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=3605