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What is a Rite of Passage?

What is a Rite of Passage?

A rite of passage is an event or ritual that marks the end of one chapter in a person's life, and the beginning of a new chapter. A wedding ceremony, for example, is a rite of passage. A person’s single life is ending, and his or her married life is just beginning. Another example of a rite of passage is a high school graduation ceremony; high school has ended, and college or work begins. A rite of passage is important, because it helps us emotionally transition from one stage in life to the next.

Around the age of 13 years old, another important life event occurs: childhood is ending, and adulthood is just beginning. In the context of a boy reaching the age of young adulthood, 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.”

Historically, nearly every culture from around the world has had a coming-of-age ceremony. These ceremonies are designed to support young people as they made the transition from childhood to adulthood. Some famous examples are the Jewish Bar-Mitzvah and the Aboriginal Walkout in Australia. Each ceremony is meant to build up a boy’s masculine identity in a healthy and meaningful way.

Modern Western culture does not have an equivalent coming of age ceremony. We don’t have a Rite of Passage for boys as they make the transition from boyhood to manhood. This is one reason why many young men still act like boys. They don’t know that boyhood is over - in fact, it’s been over for a long time now - and it’s time to move on. They subconsciously extend their adolescent years well into their 20’s and 30’s. Why are they doing this? One reason is simply because no one has ever told them “you are a man.” We don’t have a Rite of Passage event for them to make the emotional transition from boyhood to manhood.

We need to bring back the time tested tradition of the Rite of Passage. If you have a son about to turn 13, we’ll show you how.


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