‘It seems that it is only the recent West that has deemed it unnecessary to “initiate” young men. Otherwise, culture after culture felt that if the young man were not introduced to “the mysteries”, he would not know what to do with his pain and would almost always abuse his power. It looks like they were right.’
Richard Rohr, ‘Boys to men: rediscovering rites of passage for our time‘.
Many years ago, in traditional societies, boys grew up in the company of men, learning how to act and behave as a man as well as learning the skills for living as a man…at the age of 14 they were initiated into manhood…and then were expected to fulfil their task as men in their society.
In today’s western culture many boys spend much of their boyhood in the absence of men. Their mothers are their primary caregivers through to puberty and the average 14 year old has had a male teacher for 1 year of their primary years schooling.
Add to this the self-created Rites of Passage that young men adopt to ‘prove’ their manhood (hoon driving, binge-drinking, sleeping with many partners) and the startling rate of suicide amongst males of this age group…and it is clear that we have a problem with ‘developing good men’ in the west.
Ian Grant in ‘Growing Great Boys’ states “Ideally, Rites of Passage should take place within the context of a wider community. This immediately throws up the question ‘What community?’…Schools are one of the few communities that nearly all of us with children have an association with.
The Rite Journey has been developed to provide for young men a memorable process which guides them into adulthood. It is placed into the school curriculum as a way of reaching as many boys as possible.
Testimonial from Gerard, dad of a male Rite Journey student.
“Since beginning the Rite Journey programme I have noticed my son’s level of maturity and consciousness has grown beyond his years. The programme provides a forum to explore with his male classmates and peers many issues that are important to young men his age, but are very rarely addressed.
The range of physical challenges presented have helped him become more comfortable with the changes he is experiencing in his body. More importantly however, has been the chance to do ‘inner work’ and reflect on the values and opinions of both himself and others. He has been encouraged to express his feelings without judgement and this has strengthened his ‘core’. It has helped him see his place in the world more clearly and perhaps where he sees himself in the future – what sort of man he will become.
How lucky my son is to have had the opportunity to participate in The Rite Journey programme, which has offered him a supported and guided initiation into the adult world – unlike the haphazard and sometimes ill-informed path that I myself experienced.”
Testimonial from Curtis Gaston, Rite Journey student.
“The Rite Journey has helped me to understand who I am, to understand others and enabled me to unlock a piece of myself”