SHARPSBURG, MD –
Rites of passage are celebrations which occur when an individual leaves one group to enter another. A common example historically has been when a person enters into adulthood from childhood.
Bar and bat mitzvahs are a good example from Judaism. These types of rituals are important markers for citizens of a society to be able to navigate life with.
They help people understand who they are, where they come from, and where they’re going. Without the proper rites of passage serving as markers along the path, people can easily lose their way.
What seems to have occurred is the replacement of traditional rites of passage with secular rites. This is a problem for believers in God.
If rites of passage serve as markers along the path of life, God-conscious people will get disoriented if they follow secular (areligious) markers.
Our modern day rites of passage in the form of school graduations and birthdays, while not necessarily negative in and of themselves, can confuse us as to our purpose if we don’t participate in them with understanding.
Many in our society are afflicted with not growing up. Perhaps part of the reason is the lack of proper rites of passage. Becoming an adult is not something a degree or job or the associated rites of passage can mark.
Becoming an adult happens when someone becomes a giver.
Children take, adults give.
It is nothing blameworthy for a child to be a taker. That is their role. They do their part. In order for that child to become an adult, however, they must start giving at the appropriate time.
Physical or professional signs of adulthood are red herrings.
Perhaps if we begin celebrating the signs and training of givers, we will yield more adults in society. Perhaps we’ll have more accurate marks on our paths that keep us oriented to where we should be heading.
This, of course, necessitates reflection on where we’ve come from and where we’re going.
When we start celebrating discipline of the lower self, citizens of our society may start picking up on its importance and correlation to passing into one group from another.
The most important rite of passage is from taker to giver, child to adult, talker to doer.