Rites of Passage
In New Zealand, boys jumped from tree tops in an old fashioned bungee to prove their manhood. In India, they were tattooed over almost their entire body to show their strength. In Africa, sharp knives cut deep into the skin to create unique and permanent scars to display their honor. The rite of passage from boyhood to manhood of the Australian Mardudjara Aborigines consists of painful things that would make men cringe. So what is expected for the modern boy to do in order to prove his manhood? Certain events or rituals may mark a person’s life and shape his future. Rites of passage can be seen as the turning points in the life of a specific individual, beyond which he is expected to change and develop by himself. Society may expect the person to become either self-sufficient or mature enough to experience new things that would help him attain knowledge and make himself a stronger and better man. “Across time and place, cultures have inherently understood that without clear markers on the journey to manhood, males have a difficult time making the transition and can drift along indefinitely.” [artofmanliness.com] But in this modern and “safe” society, when are we supposed to know our time to become what we are expected to be? Rites of passage were used and practiced during the first civilizations. They created rituals and ceremonies that would honor a certain person because he/she was developing and passing through a new phase in life. “The common thread was an experience that involved emotional and physical pain and required a boy to pass the test of manhood: to show courage, endurance, and the ability to control one’s emotions.” [artofmanliness.com] In modern life, we don’t really have a time or ceremony that tells us what people expect of us at a certain time in life, so it is up to the individual’s conscience to do their best and try to stand out in life by their actions. But those who never establish this have a hard time developing and becoming mature. “Men are extending their adolescence into their 30′s and in some especially sad cases, their 40′s.” [artofmanliness.com] Those who take advantage of their opportunities to advance work hard and have a greater possibility of being successful and accepted by society. On the other hand, those who act stupidly and do barbaric actions may suffer the consequences. Everyone has a different rate of development which may affect them in a different period in time. We all have phases in which we think differently, but as teenagers, or from ages 16 to 24 we tend to perceive ourselves as adults and civilized people, but our actions exhibit otherwise. Psychologists in modern days believe that the transition from childhood to manhood should be determined by a stage or an event on a person’s life. “The shift from boy to man psychology is not one that occurs naturally. The difference in the two is so fundamental that a significant event is required for this to happen. It is the role of the elders within the community to create such an event or there is a risk that boy psychology will persist into adulthood.” [www.kindredcommunity.com] People in those ages have the habit of doing imprudent things, such as drinking and driving, doing dangerous stunts to impress others. Why is it that we do this? We do this because there are no rituals like going to the woods. There is no tree-jumping that could be our turning point in life. It is at these ages that society expects a major change in every one of us but it is also the age range were we all tend to get into more trouble and a larger possibility of making wrong decisions that could affect our health and our lives. Rites of passage may help each individual person to succeed in life and since we don’t really get a ceremony to honor us and prove others that we are now mature enough, and let “our actions speak louder than words”.