We gave our son a rite of passage ceremony last year, and now we're planning our second son's ceremony. When discussing this with others, most people seem genuinely interested. I don't know if that's because it's something they've never heard of, or because they recognize the need as clearly as my husband and I did. I thought I'd tell you about it here.
Rites of passage have been in every culture for thousands of years...except ours. In the United States, or perhaps more appropriately, North America, seems to basically hand young men their car keys, slap them on the back and wish them the very best of luck. Something about that simply did not sit well with us as our oldest son approached his middle teen years. Something was missing. Surely THIS wasn't the best we had to offer a wonderful son, who had never given us a moment's trouble, but who was about to enter a whole new world called MANHOOD!
We didn't want to raise a young man who could barely find his way or one who did "the best he could". We wanted to intentionally bless him, encourage him to become a Godly man who is the head of his household, and make sure he took that seriously. Anything other than a Biblical perspective was the opposite of what we wanted. And yet, looking around many young men are simply muddling along....sometimes not even that. And no one seems to really be noticing?!
We take the raising of sons very seriously (and our daughters, too...but, that's not what we're discussing so don't think we just ignore our two girls! lol). They are to become the head of the household. They are the men who will honor their wives and raise up sons of their own and teach their daughters what men of God look like. They are who God has placed in "charge" of the family while it's here and doesn't that mean that he's also placed certain expectations on the parents of boys? Aren't we expected to raise them in a manner that gives them every opportunity to hear God's voice for their lives? Aren't we expected to raise men who understand that being the head of the household means so much more than just being in "charge"? So, we set out to find a way to have a tangible rite of passage that would open that doorway for our sons to walk from boyhood into a Godly manhood.
Without telling you how to create something special for you own son, I'll tell you how we went about planning our sons night:
First, we made sure to invite men that we admire as true men of God. We invited my father, our pastor, a close family friend and the youth pastor. Along with my husband, they set about intentionally blessing our son and encouraging him. They promised to pray with him and be there for him as he grew into manhood. They discussed things with him that even I don't know. That's right....no women allowed for the rite of passage. It isn't about us women. It's about raising a MAN and while us moms can nurture and pray and really be there in a way no Dad can, we determined that this night was about becoming a MAN. That's something I just don't know anything about and I had to admit that. Was it tough to miss it? Oh yeah. But, it was the right thing to do.
One of the biggest mistakes we've made in the last few generations is trying to turn women into men. We have allowed the world to convince us that we are "equal". We aren't and that is NOT a bad thing. I want my man to be a man and I enjoy being a woman. Who the heck wants to pretend like we're the exact same and can do the exact same things? We cannot and that's perfectly OK!
So, we determined together that only men needed to be there. It wasn't about getting all emotional, or trying to be a "strong" woman for the men. It was about our son. It was about him feeling comfortable in the presence of Godly men who would mentor him into manhood. I can't do that and there was no need to pretend like I could. Besides, it turned out that he had a wonderful time telling me all about it, anyway! I did write a lovely letter to my son that his father read to him at the ceremony. He loved it and still has it with his other things from that night. He received intentional blessings from these Godly men and that was the point all along.
We want to raise up sons who honor their wives the way my husband honors me. I want to raise up sons who take their place as head of household seriously. We want to raise up the kind of men that recognize what a Godly woman is. Men that are strong for their families and strong in their faith. That doesn't come by accident, people. While a rite of passage may not work for your family, I encourage you to find some way of really singling out your son, and making a point of moving with him from childhood to manhood. Intentionally bless him and begin to treat him like the man God expects him to become. Men do not become Godly men by accident and they don't have parents just so they can be fed and clothed. It's time our men act like men....and parents act like parents. If you'd like to read about outsourced parenting, you can find that article here .