Should I be doing anything on his 10th, 11th or 12th birthdays? Should the Rite of Passage be a process?
The short answer to this question is no. You do not need to do anything with your son before his Rite of Passage; it should NOT be a process. The Rite of Passage is meant to be a moment on purpose. By making his entrance into manhood a singular event, you are making it clear in his mind “this was the moment that I became a man.” The Rite of Passage should not be a series of events. Having multiple events has the potential to confuse your son, because his memory will likely blend them all together as he gets older.
To illustrate our point, let’s use the example of another rite of passage moment in life: marriage. When a man stands on the altar in front of everyone he loves and profess his vows to his wife, he knows that at that moment, he is married. That is the purpose of the wedding ceremony; to make it 100% clear to the husband and the wife, that they are, in fact, married. There is not a series of wedding ceremonies, because that could cause a lot of confusion. There is a single moment.
We are trying to recreate a similar once-in-a-lifetime moment like that with the Rite of Passage weekend. The only difference is that you are initiating your son into manhood, not marriage.
Of course, you should still spend quality time with your son before the weekend. You are his father, and he looks to you as the #1 example of what masculinity is. You should be setting a good example of what it means to be a man beforehand. The Rite of Passage only works when you have laid a foundation of quality time and have a healthy father-son relationship.