Monday column: Are young Omanis abandoning traditions?

Opinion Sunday 10/September/2023 15:43 PM
By: Saleh Al-Shaibany
Monday column: Are young Omanis abandoning traditions?

We usually assume that young people have the responsibility of carrying on culture and traditions but we see them get involved with trivial pursuits that take them away from what is important to them.

When I asked one of the youngsters why tradition is not important to him, his answer was “I do not want to live in the past.”

He explained that the future was what would make his life lead him into a successful path. Yes, it is true, I had to admit that to him, but learning about cultures and traditions, I explained to the youngster, he could learn a lot about where his family came from.

I think it is the obligation of both parents to pass on family traditions that would teach their children valuable lessons like good communication, respect and responsibility.  Family life is a place where children can learn about home comfort, peace, safety and above all, good manners. It is that foundation that children need to lead a successful life.

It goes without saying that traditions remind us that we are part of a rich history. We did not drop from the sky and that we need to remind our children. Traditions and cultures are life’s important elements that help us understand ourselves what we are today and where we are heading in the future. We need to constantly remind our children that, if we ignore our history, we are damaging our identity and roots.

Oman in particular, we come from different diversity over the centuries. The seafaring ventures of the Omanis of the past were based on a strong tradition of travelling to new lands. Centuries later now, Omanis still travel, not by boats, but airplanes as we keep this tradition alive.

Why is this important? Because it is who we are and that helps us understand other traditions that are intertwined with ours. When I was telling this to the same youngster, his face furrowed. He could not connect what I was saying. Perhaps because he could not connect tradition with the present life.

I asked him to look around him. His university, the streets, shopping malls and the beach where he is playing football. He interacts with people of other traditions and cultures all the time.

The reason why his country is now so peaceful it is because Omanis live in perfect harmony with people from different countries.  We do that because we have been strictly following our traditions of understanding different cultures when our ancestors travelled the world.

They passed that experience down to us and we are supposed to pass it to our children. But are we really doing it? If we are not, then we are failing the future generations. It is like good health, we take it for granted until we lose it. We need to take every opportunity to pass our rich traditions to the youngsters so they can carry them forward.

Failing that, then we lose our history and values. That brings a valuable quote into my mind. In one of late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taimour’s National Day speeches, he said, "a country without a background, has no present or future.”

How right he was.