I remember a story my Bible teacher from high school told us once about the dangers of tradition and not asking “why.”
A family was having a large reunion. For the first time in many years, there were 4 generations under the same roof.
In the kitchen a little girl was “helping” her mom prepare the meal. The mom was following the traditional family recipe for ham. As she observes her mother carefully, the little girl asks, “Mom, why do you cut off the last 3 inches of the ham bone?” The mother, looking at her daughter and then the recipe quizzically, replies, “I don’t know, sweetie. That’s the way we’ve always done it. Let’s go ask Grandma. She’ll know why. She’s in the other room.”
A few minutes later, the little girl and her mother approach the grandmother in the living room. “Grandma,” the little girl asks politely, “Why do we cut off the last 3 inches of the ham bone for our family recipe?” The grandmother stops to think and answers slowly, “Sweetheart, I don’t know why. It’s the way we’ve always done it. I think we should go ask Great-Grandma.”
The three ladies enter the den, where the great-grandmother is watching TV. The little girl starts, “Great-Grandma, why do we cut off the last 3 inches of the ham bone in our secret recipe?”
Great-Grandma looks at the little girl and states matter-of-factly, “Because, dear, in my day, our oven was too small to fit the whole ham.”