The ceremony of a rite of passage is an age-old tradition that has lasted through the ages. Nearly every society has some form to celebrate the birth of new life, mourn the death of a loved one, or to mark a teen’s coming of age.

The importance of a rite of passage for a boy becoming a man is two-fold. First, the boy is able to experience an event specifically designed to help them achieve the sense of accomplishment needed to mark the occasion. This can take many forms, depending on the society, from lion hunting, to going on a vision quest. Second, the community as a whole benefit as they uphold their tradition and assist the youth in accomplishing their tasks. This shared experience strengthens the bond of the individuals, bringing the community closer together as a whole.

What the Stages of the Rite Means as a Father

No matter what form the rite of passage takes, they all typically follow a three stage process. Let’s look at these three stages as regards to a coming of age rite of passage, and what it means for you, the father.

1. Separation.

During this stage, the individual, sometimes referred to as the “initiate”, are physically removed from their normal social group. While your son is away is the perfect time to reflect, not only on the boy he was, but the man you want him to become. This is your chance as a father to come to terms with the fact your boy is growing up.

2. Transition.

Your son is working hard and in the case of a boys’ ranch, is learning new skills and earning the respect of his peers. The trials he undergoes will change him, teaching him in a new environment the consequences of his actions and responsibility. As a father, it’s up to you to recognize what he’s going through and for you yourself to grow in order to acknowledge your son’s accomplishments.

3. Incorporation.

This stage is where the initiate has been returned home. They’ve come back from the vision quest or in off the ranch. They’re not the same person they were when they left. This is your chance as a father to step up. For the rite of passage to have any importance, your son must be treated differently on his return. Viewing your son as a man means treating him as such. Now’s the time to teach him the lessons he needs and let him share in a real sense of responsibility around the house.

A Rite and a Privilege

Our society has small moments that mark transitions for our young. Obtaining a driver’s license, letting your daughter wear make-up or have her ears pierced, or trusting your children to be home alone while you go out of town for a weekend. While these are all valuable, few have the emotional impact of a full rite of passage. It’s a chance to grow for both you and your son, and that’s never a bad thing.

Author's Bio: 

Tyler Jacobson is a writer, father, and husband, with experience in outreach and content writing for parenting organizations and ranches for troubled teen boys. His areas of focus include: straightforward parenting, education tactics, problems from social media, mental illnesses, detrimental addictions, and issues teenagers struggle with today. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | Linkedin