Why inviting other men is crucial to a Rite of Passage
Crucial to a successful Rite of Passage is the addition of other male role models, not just the boy’s father. It’s no secret that most preteen boys don’t want to listen to their dads. Therefore, the addition of other men is crucial. The presence of other men helps to get through to the boy in a way that he might actually listen. You never know what another man might say that sticks with your son. It could be the exact same thing that you have been telling him for months, but hearing it from someone else—someone who isn’t his dad— might help it to actually sink in.
It’s one thing for a dad to tell his son that he is a man; it’s another for a group of five men to take him away for a weekend and tell him. That’s the kind of thing that he will never forget.
Who should I invite to my son's Rite of Passage?
The men who you invite to attend the Rite of Passage weekend should be members of the family or close family friends, and they should have a good relationship with your son. They should be over the age of thirteen and should be someone who you trust passing down their values to him. Once the Rite of Passage weekend begins, you cannot control what other men might say, so you want to make sure that you only invite men who you trust to influence your son positively.
Not just any man is appropriate to invite to the weekend. Many families have estranged relationships. This is not the weekend to invite an uncle or brother who no longer associates with the family. The purpose of this weekend is to initiate the boy into manhood, not to fix broken relationships. The attendance of an estranged relative may bring up negative feelings or remind the boy of emotional wounds that would detract from the weekend. You want the Rite of Passage weekend to be a positive experience for him.
Women are not invited on the trip because this would greatly change the dynamics of the conversations that occur during the Rite of Passage. This doesn’t mean that Mom is left in the dark when it comes to the Rite of Passage weekend. On the contrary, Mom should play a big part in the organization of the weekend. Her perspective and input are as good as gold when you are organizing the weekend. She knows best what your son likes and what he dislikes, what he will react well to, and what he will react poorly to. Having good communication with your wife during the planning process will help ensure that the weekend goes smoothly.
You may be tempted to reduce your son’s Rite of Passage to a one-on-one weekend trip between you and him without getting other men involved. Getting other family members and friends involved takes a lot more work after all, and talking about your values and your faith in front of other people isn’t easy. We understand the temptation to scale back the Rite of Passage weekend, but we suggest that you don’t do this. You need the help of other men in order to get through to him. Taking a weekend trip alone with your son may be meaningful to him, but it isn’t a Rite of Passage; it’s just a weekend trip with your son. A Rite of Passage, on the other hand, is a once-in-a-lifetime event aimed at initiating him into manhood.
Once you have identified who to invite, the next step is to figure out how to invite them. Fortunately for you, we’ve developed a free template for dad’s to use to invite other men to attend a Rite of Passage weekend.