“It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.” —St. Thomas Aquinas
A rite of passage is a formal event designed at initiating your son into manhood. The weekend is led by his father, but it also includes other male role models such as uncles, grandfathers, family friends, older cousins and older brothers. The Rite of Passage weekend is made up of certain rituals; activities for the group to participate in together to help facilitate discussion about healthy masculinity and what it really means to be a man.
But before the “serious” events begin, it can be a good idea to participate in a fun activity as a group. The conversations during the Rite of Passage are serious, but that doesn’t mean the weekend shouldn’t be fun! Being too stoic will make the boy put up walls, but taking a more lighthearted approach will help him open him up and be more receptive to the advice that you are giving him. It’s important to participate in a fun activity to set the tone for the rest of the weekend.
Having a fun activity also helps to break the ice and makes the boy feel more comfortable with the other men on the trip, men he may not normally see on a day-to-day basis. It is a good way to stretch the legs while en route to your destination. Everyone will be in a better mood after getting the blood pumping just a little bit!
Good ideas for a fun activity are paintball, laser tag, go-karts, hiking, rock climbing, shooting, archery, fishing, boating, or skiing. The possibilities are endless! Ultimately, you will know what activities your son likes to do the best. If you have the right group of guys, quality time spent together is guaranteed to lead to fun and good memories no matter what activity you decide to pick.
When reflecting back on what fun activities were the best for our family, two come to mind. The first was my nephew Ricky’s ROP. For his fun activity, we went to an adventure outfit and rappelled down a 200-foot cavern in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s. To be honest, I wasn’t totally sure how Ricky would react to this activity, because hanging there on a single rope with nothing between you and the ground two hundred feet below requires a lot of bravery. Rappelling was a risky activity, because we didn’t want Ricky to feel embarrassed if he decided that he was not comfortable doing it. Despite the risks, Bobo was confident that Ricky could do it, so we went ahead with it. I’m glad that we did, because Ricky handled rappelling like he had been doing it his entire life. He didn’t show the slightest appearance of fear. In fact, I think some of his older cousins were more afraid than he was! Conquering the rappelling challenge gave Ricky a sense of accomplishment before the ROP started. The activity turned into a “Yes, you can!” moment for him and was something that we were able to refer back to during the rest of the weekend rituals. When we gave him advice like, “Put yourself out there,” “Face your fears,” or “Take risks,” we were able to talk about how he had just done these types of things when he conquered the rappelling challenge.
Another successful activity that comes to mind was for my nephew Andrew’s ROP. Since Andrew didn’t normally get to spend quality time with a lot of the guys in attendance, we wanted to do something that would help him get more comfortable with the group. Kirk decided that Andrew would really enjoy going to an indoor arcade that had batting cages, laser tag, go-kart racing, and bumper boats. I have a vivid memory of watching my son Michael and my nephews Ricky and Andrew get off the bumper boats completely soaked from spraying each other, laughing and with huge smiles on their faces. Even though this activity was less adventurous than Ricky’s, it was perfect for Andrew, and it had the similar effect of putting him in a great mood before we moved on with the rest of the weekend.