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Should I hold a rite of passage for my son who is in his 20’s or 30’s?

A rite of passage is an event that a boy can look back on and say “that was the moment that I became a man.” It is ideally suited for a boy around 13 years old, but a son who is 14, 15 or 16 years old is also acceptable. This more closely resembles the ages when a boy completes a Jewish Bar-Mitzvah or an Aboriginal Walkout.

We do NOT recommend holding a Rite of Passage event for a grown son in his 20’s or 30’s. Holding a Rite of Passage at this age has the potential emasculate him. Most likely, he probably already sees himself as a man to some degree, and he won’t appreciate his dad telling him “now I consider you to be man.” The window of opportunity for this gesture has already gone.

Instead of giving a grown son a Rite of Passage, we recommend giving him words of praise. Every son wants to hear his dad say “I’m proud of the man that you’ve become”. You could even write him a letter telling him how proud you are of him, how much you love him, and some of your hopes for him (writing a letter is one of the rituals that makes up the Rite of Passage weekend). This letter will be something that your son can hold onto for the rest of his life.


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