I am really thrilled to share our new Rite Journey branding after having worked with Dan and Craig from Symbology over the last couple of months.
I have written below the story of evolution of our Rite Journey symbol/logo over the years. Itâs been quite a journey so is a lengthy read…but if youâre into symbolism or are interested in whatâs behind our TRJ logo…feel free to read on…
For those of you who have been connected with The Rite Journey over the past decade or more you will be familiar with the fact that we have had a number of logos over the journey.
Through the very early years we had a stylised logo including a spiral to represent evolution and holistic growth, letting go, surrender, release.
Then we moved to a butterfly for the girlsâ program and a compass for the boys program.
The butterfly represented growth, transformation, transcendence, freedom, transition as well as the concept of needing to use its own strength to break free from the confines of the cocoon.
The compass represented journeying, the four points, direction, guidance, endeavouring to find âtrue northâ, trusting our internal compass, using the tools at hand, freedom and wanderlust. The Latin root behind the word compass is derived from âcorn,â meaning âtogether,â and âpassus,â meaning âwayâ or âroute.â
Hence the butterfly and the compass represented beautifully the intent of The Rite Journey.
I wanted to combine the two logos, so we had both the male and female symbol in one logo and at that point one of our young Belgian connections, Gustav, created a symbol that combined stylised versions of the butterfly and compass but I also wanted a couple of other elements added.
Firstly the circle which indicates a whole variety of things: focus, unity, cycles, infinity, inclusion, wholeness, connection, nurturing, initiation and being centred.
Secondly the butterfly symbol also began to represent a number of other things. The wings are also leaves representing new life and growth, or a flower representing beauty, transformation and growth. The wings also contain the infinity sign to represent infinite possibilities and ways of being.
Thirdly the swordlike compass points to represent warrior energy, purification, sacrifice, enlightenment, freedom, discrimination of thought, clarity, protection, righteousness and justice, purity and truth.
Fourthly I wanted the symbols to be breaking out of the circle represent pushing boundaries, striving, and not being contained by societyâs stereotypes of what it is to be a man or a woman.
The butterfly and compass were to be interwoven to acknowledge that we all carry aspects of the masculine and feminine.
I also wanted the four elements to be represented as this honoured the very first Rite Journey Ceremony I ever did so we see:
Earth – circle
Air – vanes (compass points)
Fire – flames (butterfly wings)
Water – wave (butterfly wings)
It was time to have all of the above elements of our exisiting logo updated and a new branding to be developed.
So I worked with Symbology to find a new way to represent TRJ honouring all of the old but bringing a professionalism to the design and also consolidating the Man Made Branding and the Woman Wise Branding with The Rite Journey.
And as we were creating Dan had the idea of creating icons for each of the seven stages of our Heroâs Journey and so Iâm pleased to show you them too.
It has been a real honour working with Dan and Craig who also have a deep understanding of symbols and so they were the perfect team to continue to write our TRJ story.
The new logo acknowledges all of the previous symbolism, we also honour the heritage of TRJ by adding the ESTD 1997.
Regarding the new font Dan reflects âWe landed on a font with character that calls to adventure (Brothers) and paired it with a clean typeface (Monsterrat) to achieve a modern vintage look. Notice how the angles in THE RITE JOURNEY mirror the black shapes in the logo. While the tagline and sub-brands perfectly match the line weight in the logo and the curved lines that connect the lettering. These fine details give the whole brand a confident and cohesive appearance.â
The horizontal “masthead” version of the logo is a new direction for TRJ and it symbolises the fact that most schools do a ceremony at sunrise or sunset.
To create our Man Made and Woman Wise logos we have âdismantledâ our TRJ symbol to include just the âmaleâ compass/sword element of the logo for Man Made and the âfemaleâ butterfly element for Woman Wise.
These logos will be used on our conversation card sets.
Finally the 7 heroâs journey stages are represented and each is a shield that contains an element of the full logo.
1. The Calling – uses the western compass point. It symbolises 2 things:
– the âless thanâ symbol which indicates a call to something greater, to evolve, to grow.
– the shape of a loud hailer…literally a calling implement.
2. The Departure – uses the top half of a butterfly wing and symbolises a bridge, departing from the known and crossing the threshold into the unknown.
3. The Following – is an arrow using the northern compass point. It symbolises that we have mentors who show us the way, we follow their direction, use their modelling, guidance and example to help create our own path.
4. The Challenges – is the upward âvâ from the northern compass point. It represents a mountain, a peak, a summit. A challenge, difficulty or an obstacle in our path, something that needs to be overcome.
5. The Abyss – the downward âvâ from the southern compass point. This represents the darkest valley, the pit, the nadir, the downpoint, the biggest challenge. And it is framed in a shield especially shaped like a diamond as it is from the abyss that we gain the gem, the biggest learning.
6. The Return – the âplusâ sign or the cross from the centre of the compass. The Return is distilling and understanding the learning from the journey. Returning into the known with the lesson. Finding the positive from the journey, hence the plus sign indicating positive growth despite the challenging circumstances youâve experienced. The additional element of the cross also represents sacrifice to find newness.
7. The Homecoming – The circle with the butterfly wings. The circle symbolises completion of the journey along with a medal of success or a badge of honour. The wings/leaves within it represent taking flight, launching, new life.
What’s your plan for raising your children?
How will you help build responsibility and resilience?
What will you do when they’re 4…when they’re 10…when they’re 16?
I didn’t really have an intentional plan…nor could find one…so I thought…let’s create one!
The Parenting Plan
I have spent my years of teaching and parenting exploring what the goal of schools and raising children is…and ultimately I have come to believe that the intention is to create a successful adult.
To set our young people up that they have the greatest chance a living a life in which they can live responsibly and respectfully and contribute to the betterment of their community/society.
The issue for me in my parenting is that there is very little practical education or direction as to the best way to do this…to be parenting with the long term goal in mind.
Most of us are parenting moment by moment, responding to the issues as they arrive without a game plan of what we hope to create.
So I, initially, had no real goal as to what I was aiming for and certainly no plan.
However, over my years as a father and a teacher I have learned that there is actually another way we can do this.
I now spend time reflecting on the type of adult Iâd like my children to be, the qualities Iâd like them to develop, the virtues Iâd like them to carry, the level of responsibility Iâd hope they live withâŠand I have created a templateâŠa processâŠthat will help me work towards that goal and enable them to develop into the best version of themselves.
I find it strange that I have been encouraged to have goals and plans for a number of different aspects of my life, but in my most important role, being a father…a parent, I have typically coasted along with no direction.
So over recent years I have created an intentional process, a template which aims to help me develop my children into responsible young adults…and Iâd like to share it with others.
Iâve grown to realise, when a child enters my life, I have roughly 18 years of influence before they are legally, in my country, inducted into adulthood. They are given every legal freedom on the day they turn 18, and, as their parent, I have an obligation to have prepared them for that.
So what can we do in those 18 years?
Well I have created a proactive plan, which I have found really easy to execute.
Effectively it is a template for your child in which we are going to use birthdays as little moments of graduation into the next stage of life.
Along with this we will be intentional about the gifts that we buy them on their birthday, with each one representing the next step of building of responsibility in their lives, the next shift of creating them to be a capable and resourceful human.
Along the way we will also honour significant moments with our child, for example we will create a special celebration to honour a daughterâs menarche, her first period.
At 14 we will have ceremony and celebration around our childâs transition into young adulthood via a Rite of Passage process and then at 18 we will craft a release ceremony which allows them to cross the threshold into that next stage of life.
I am really excited to be working on this resource as I havenât come across anything else like this in my research on parenting over the years. I have started the writing process and am keen to offer parent workshops in the coming months as I fine tune the process.
Please be in touch via Facebook or email email@example.com if youâd like to be kept in the loop, let me know your email address and Iâll stay in touch over the journey.
Hereâs to raising a generation of responsible, respectful, resilient, resourceful young men and women.
Today I was teaching an Outdoor Ed class and we were doing a practical lesson on camp cooking using Trangias.
It’s always fun doing experiential lessons and I get to share a few cautionary camping tales regarding the misuse of fuel cookers.
I also get to share one of my favourite camping adages “Fire – a good servant but a bad master.”
There was one thing I noticed that I felt is worthy of comment here.
At one point I instructed the students to 1/3 fill their Trangia burners.
I then noticed that one after the other, these year 10 (15yo) students would come to me asking “Is this the right amount of fuel?”
In this moment we as teachers (and parents) could respond in a number of ways.
The most common I hear is – “yes”.
The affirmation the student (child) was hoping for, however, I think there is another way.
A way that requires them to think, to back themselves, to explore, to discover…
I love the phrase…”I wonder”
This response requires the student (child) to consider all they know…to recall the instructions they were given, to use their own brain to solve the issue, to reflect, explore.
The stakes are often low with these questions seeking clarification too.
The worst that can happen for my students today was that their flame might go out and they would need to relight it.
I remember a situation when I was overseeing a Home Economics teacher in a class doing baking with the students.
A student approached her and asked “Was that plain flour or self raising flour, Miss?”
The teacher responded with the answer “It’s self raising flour of course, otherwise you would have a flat cake!”
I chatted with the teacher after the lesson and reflected on the fact that I think a deeper learning my have occurred if she had said “I wonder”.
A flat cake would have been an unforgettable learning experience for that lad.
Sometimes we can prevent great lessons from occurring simply by being too eager in responding to students’ (and children’s) questions for affirmation of them doing something correctly.
‘I wonder’ if there is another option that might better serve them?
I took a little bit of control back over my life today.
For quite a few years now I have been working hard to be present in my life.Â Ever since reading Eckhart Tolleâs âThe Power of Nowâ I have been inspired to live in the moment, to give my attention to the present, to exist in the now.Â And I have been pretty pleased with the job I have been doing.
I have consciously noticed when I begin to drift into fear about the future, I observe my thoughts and pull myself back to the present.
I have consciously noticed when I begin to drift into pain about the past, I observe my thoughts and pull myself back to the present.
I have consciously noticed when I begin to drift into unease about the unchangeable, I observe my thoughts and pull myself back to the present.
However, despite all of this conscious noticing, thereâs been a glaring distraction which I have failed to observe constantly drags me from the now.
I have previously written about the tendency of handheld devices to be a distraction in life. Check out iGroan – a response to parents’ growing relationships with iPhones and other mobile technologies.
Over the years I have employed various strategies to combat the distraction that mobile phones bring to our family home.
The children only get a mobile phone once they are in high school.
There are no mobile phones at the dinner table.
Children donât have mobile phones in their bedrooms.
We have a charging point in a family area where phones are charged overnight.
We encourage conversation when travelling in the car rather than children being on their phones when in the car with the family.
Despite my attempts to be a diligent user of mobile technologies I had somehow overlooked the insidious control that my phone had over me.
All of these choices have made a difference, however, I became acutely aware of something the other day.
I was mid conversation with a friend and their phone lit up with a Facebook notification. They interrupted our face to face conversation to respond to their online request. Itâs become one of our commonplace social mores.
I thought that I was pretty good at not doing this myself, I have generally muted my notifications so I am not distracted from the present. Even with this precaution though I have realised how often my phone flashes with a notification that draws my attention away from the person/people I am with.
The main culprits for me have been emails, Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, Football Apps, Travel Apps, Real Estate Apps and Bandsintown.
Many times, every day, my phone flashes demanding my attention. And more often that not, it gets it.
In fact, I even notice myself frequently glancing at my phone when the light catches it in a certain wayâŠmistakenly thinking that I have just received a notification.
So today, I decided that things need to change.
I am no longer happy being a slave to my iPhone.
A mobile phone can be a good servant but a bad master.
In a conscious attempt to be more present with anyone in my company I have made some deliberate changes.
- I have gone into the notification settings on my phone and turned off every notification other than phone, text messages and Skype.Â There will be no more flashing of notifications unless I am receiving a call or text. No more email interruptions, real estate alerts, Facebook pings or Twitter intrusion.
- I have set my phone up with special ring tones and message alerts for my wife, children and parents.Â This way I can make a more active choice as to whether I am immediately drawn to respond to certain calls or texts.
I am hoping that with these two changes I can continue more consciously in my endeavour to be present in the moment and earnestly connected with those people who I am physically present with.
Iâd love to hear your stories of dealing with the distractions of modern mobile technology.
Last week was my son’s 18th birthday.
A significant event here in Australia as it heralds the transition, legally, into the adult world.
Once 18, he is afforded every legal entitlement available in our country.
He can legally drink, vote, marry and change his name without my permission.
He can legally get a tattoo, a credit card and a passport without my consent.
He can sign any contract he wants and he will legally be bound by it.
Our law says he is an adult and he no longer needs my permission to do anything.
He is now in control of his life.
But is he?
But practically, for most 18 year olds, it is often a very different story.
Many of them are not independent at all.
They have not been raised to be that way.
The Advent of Adolescence
In days gone by, 18 year olds had usually left home, were working full time and contemplating marriage and parenthood. Â Today, young adults are mostly living at home, financially dependent and relying on parents to provide.
However, it hasnât always been that way. Traditionally, for thousands of years of human existence, there have been 3 stages of human life: childhood, adulthood and elderhood.
More recently, within the last century, we have seen the evolution of a fourth stage. The first mention was by G. Stanley Hall, often touted as the father of American psychology.Â He noted that as the 20th Century progressed, a variety of shifts, including compulsory schooling laws, led to a new stage of life between childhood and adulthood.
Hall named it âadolescenceâ.
Whilst initially this stage just spanned a few years, until 15 or 16, a number of recent shifts have seen adolescence continue well into the 20s.
- As we moved through the 1900s the advent of tertiary study meant young people were potentially in the education system beyond their teens.
- Once advertisers spied a new market, âthe teenagerâ became a fixture of our social construct.
- More recently, a shift in parenting style has seen a further expansion of adolescenceÂ into the late 20s.
Helicopters and Snowploughs
One of the most inhibiting factors that I see for young adults stepping into responsible adulthood is having parents who are not willing to let go. Terms such as âHelicopter Parentsâ (hovering around their children making sure everything is ok) or âSnowplough Parentsâ (clearing the path so there are no obstacles for their children) have become common place styles of parenting over the past two decades.
I frequently notice that in parentsâ endeavours to help their children be âhappyâ, âsuccessfulâ and have a head start in life they often step in and prevent their child from truly being encouraged to be responsible.Â This can take many forms, with one example being parents not having expectations around their 18 year old being responsible for or contributing to: household expenses; mobile phone costs; the maintenance and running of their car; household chores, etc.
Anything we do for a teenager that they can do for themselves is robbing them of the opportunity of growing up.
However, the more invasive way I witness parents stifling their childâs transition into adulthood is by choosing to be overly involved in decision-making and forcing advice on their child.
At some stage it is essential that we enable our children by allowing them the responsibility of making decisions around relationships, vocation, lifestyle, etc. rather than disabling them by not giving them the experience of weighing up choices and learning from them, be the outcome successful or not.
Why shield an adolescent from failure when we know it is a much better teacher than success?
In my workshops with parents of young children I explore how we can graduate responsibility over the course of their childhood so that by the time they reach 18 they are capable, responsible, respectful and resilient young adults. However, this can only be achieved with intention and forethought. It requires the planning of numerous moments during a childâs life when they cross a threshold into a new phase of independence.
You can read more about that in my âGraduating Responsibilityâ article.
But at 18, I believe there is a vital process which we, as parents, can offer our children, one that will usher them into a responsible adulthood.
A Parentâs Gift – The Release
I call this process âthe releaseâ and it is a gesture that acknowledges a young personâs step into independent adulthood and our âstep backâ, as parents.
It is an intentional moment in which we acknowledge to our 18 year old that we wonât choose to force our opinions or thoughts onto them any longer but that we will be here for them if they would like to seek advice.
It is an empowering gesture that provides them with space to grow rather than restricting them or causing them to be overly worried about pleasing parents.
It is a choice to own âour stuffâ as parents and not to burden our adult children with it.
There are a number of ways that such a moment might look but two important elements of the process are some form of public declaration of our intention and a token of the moment.
Last week, as Malachi turned 18, it was time to offer him this process.
I had spent some time considering the token I would give him to acknowledge this moment of transition into the freedom and responsibility of adulthood and decided upon two gifts.
The first was something he could wear that would be a symbolic reminder of this moment and my commitment.Â I decided upon a leather and silver wristband.
The second was a keepsake that reflected the combination of freedom and responsibility that comes with adulthood. For this I chose a hip flask.
As we gathered together for a family celebration dinner, Malachi was surrounded by his siblings, grandparents, auntie, uncle and cousins.Â And as the sun began to set over the vines on our property, I spoke.
âMalachi, as the sun sets on your birthday, we take a moment to reflect on the years of your childhood that have brought you to this point and we acknowledge the completion of this stage of your life.Â As with all endings there comes a new beginning. A welcome.
We want to take this moment to welcome you into adulthood. We all join together this evening to celebrate your life, the beauty and wonder of who you are and how you be.
We acknowledge that with legal adulthood comes a whole host of freedoms but that these come with reciprocal responsibilities.
To symbolise this, we have a gift which reflects the freedom you now have to legally drink alcoholâŠbut in giving you this we acknowledge that, as with many adult liberties, it comes with a responsibility to do so with thoughtfulness and care to yourself and others.
As your dad, I also want to acknowledge that as you turn 18, you legally are now a fully fledged adult.Â You have every legal entitlement that I have. And again, with this responsibility it is time for you to step fully into adulthood. Throughout your childhood I have endeavoured to teach you right from wrong, to surround you with adults who love and respect you, to graduate you into responsibility and to model, as best I can, what a good man looks like.
Now it is over to you.Â Whilst you are still living at home and there will continue to be expectations that you contribute as a member of this household and family,
I am no longer going to force my opinion on you. I am no longer going to tell you what I think you should do.Â Of course I will always be here for you, to help you when you ask and to support you when you seek it. But I choose now to release you from my expectations.Â I choose now to release you into your independent adulthood.
To symbolise this I am giving you a wristband.
The braided leather symbolises both the interwoven nature of life and the strength that comes through relationship with others.Â The black of the leather contrasts with the gleam of the silver symbolising the importance of both the dark moments in life, which are important and formative and the bright moments in life, which are also important and formative.Â And as the inscription saysâŠGo Well.
Malachi, we love you dearly and join together as a family to celebrate with you, and release you into this wonderful world of adulthood.â
And in that moment, with a tear in my eye and a deep sense of pride, I put my arms around my son, with whom I was well pleased.
One of the Rite Journey classes at Timaru Boys’ High School (NZ) has had their letter to the editor about violence published on the front page of the Timaru Herald.
NeverÂ before has that paper chosen to publish a letter to the editor on the front page…but these lads have put together a thoughtful, strong piece about violence in sport.
What an amazing group of young men…feeling passionate enough about this topic to take this action.
Here’s what was published on the front page:
The rugby brawl that occurred at the end of the Temuka-Geraldine senior rugby match on Saturday has drawn comment this week.
Yesterday the following was sent to the Herald by class 10 NL of Timaru Boys’ High School. It is unusual for us to present it in this way, but we felt it deserved special treatment.
We are a group of Y10 students going through the Rite Journey programme at Timaru Boys’ High School. We are looking at stereotypes and the impact that the media has on creating these and the impact this can have on us. We have looked at the media’s response to State of Origin Game 1 with the Paul Gallen fight. The highlight reel on stuff.co.nz only showed this fight! No good plays, tries or good sportsmanship was evident.
We then looked at the recent developments of our local, club rugby senior game between Geraldine and Temuka. The player/coach quote on Monday of “a good old fashioned slugfest” and “the most exciting part of the game” surprised us. We are taught that fighting is not OK and that “it takes a bigger man to walk away”. We realise that the player/coach probably made these comments in the heat of the moment, but it appears as if the media glorifies these behaviours.
During this class our teacher showed us the TV3 news report on the death of the Kelston Boys’ student, Stephen Dudley, who was killed as a result of a fight after rugby practice. We were deeply saddened by this but pleased that the family has said “we need to address the culture of violence across our country so something like this doesn’t happen again”.
We are confused that violence at a rugby game is not seen as assault and that it is dealt with by a slap on the wrist and not by police. Is this why the 15 and 17-year-old boys who allegedly assaulted Stephen Dudley got it wrong? Did they think they would get away with it because the fight took place on a rugby field, after rugby practice?
Throughout our Rite Journey Programme we are challenged physically, mentally and emotionally. Our challenge to The Timaru Herald is to make a stand against the glorification of violence in our paper and to the people who make the decisions about assault that occur on the rugby paddock from spectators or players.
Why are these incidents not handled by police? What is the message they are wanting to send the youth of today?
The editor responded to their letter with his own opinion piece the following day. That can be read here:
Well done Class 10NL at TBHS for taking a stand.
The Korean Educational Broadcaster EBS has screened a documentary on helping transition boys into manhood. Â The documentary has footage of Lilydale Adventist Academy and their Rite Journey Co-ordinator Dustin Dever, along with interviews with some of the boys from the class, Andrew Lines sharing some of the aims of the program and Steve Biddulph discussing some issues with boys transitioning. Â The bulk of the narration is in Korean although all interviews with Rite Journey participants are in English.
Andrew will be returning to Korea early next year to work with Kongjin Middle School. Â They will be implementing an adapted version of The Rite Journey to their students and EBS will be producing a second documentary…this time of Kongjin Middle School implementing The Rite Journey over the course of a year.
Itâs true â I do groan.
It happens each time I wander past a playground to see children happily playing whilst their parents are busy attending to something or someone else on a mobile phone or deviceâŠeither via a voice call, sms, email or web-browsing.
The same thing happens when I turn up at childrenâs sport , only to notice that half of the spectating parents are otherwise engaged enthusiastically with their hand-held technology.
Youâll find similar responses are elicited from me when I sit down to meals with families only to observe the incessant intrusion of âother outside businessâ via beeps, tweets, tones, trills and push notifications into what I believe is sacred family time.
(I won’t start on my response when I notice two youths, sitting next to each other on public transport texting a conversation with each other rather than simply turning face to face and having a verbal chatâŠ)
Our presence and connection with another human is largely related to our attention to them and this is, at best, limited whilst involved in mobile technology useâŠand at worstâŠabsent.
Â âThere is someone or something more important to you than me, in this moment!â
This could quite rightfully be the perception of a child, partner or other family member who is in the presence of a significant other who is otherwise engrossed in their mobile phone.
It appears that our virtual or online connections are becoming more valuable and important than our human connections and it seems to me, from conversations with children, that our kids are getting this message loud and clear.Â And they are craving to have our attention back…at the playground, at their sportsâ games, in the homeâŠ
I believe it is time that we truly question our use of mobile technologies as parents and partners. Letâs acknowledge their invasive nature,Â regain control and model responsible and respectful mobile technology use.
It is interesting to hear the barrage of excuses that start when parents are challenged on their use of mobile devices around children.Â I hear some of the same conversations happening in my own head.Â However, most of the excuses I have heard pale into insignificance when placed next to the role of raising a child
Our âdependenceâ on mobile technologies over the last decade has grown exponentially but I always find it refreshing to remember back to times before they were as influential.Â Business still got done.Â And even with a more monitored and conscious approach, business will still get done and our children will benefit hugely, from our increased engagement and attention.
I would like to offer the following 3 guidelines for mobile technology use around familyâŠwith the basic mantra being âIt can wait!â:
Leave your mobile phone or device in the car when attending childrenâs sport or events.
Make the focus and priority your child in these moments.
Turn off âpush notificationsâ when with children and/or partners.
Let your children/partner know that they are the most important thing to them in that moment.
Put your phone on silent during meals with partners and family.
It will probably pay to have a family expectation/rule around mobile device use at meal times.Â I suggest they are left elsewhere and switched to silent.
In summary, this is simply a call to be more conscious of the invasive nature of mobile technologies, to be more aware of how they distract us from what really matters and to make a commitment to improve the situation in our own lives…for the benefit of our children and families.
NB. This piece is written as much for my own benefit as it has been the benefit of any other parent.
I had the most delightful experience yesterday.
As a part of my teaching work, on occasions I am required to take a relief lesson…and yesterday was one of those days. Â However, rather than the usual task of relieving a lesson in the high school, I was asked to assist in supervising a craft lesson with the class 1 children.
I pondered as I wandered over to the classroom what it might be that the children would be creating in the lesson and indeed, what help, as a trained Phys Edder, I could possibly be!