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Many years ago, in traditional societies, children grew up in the company of elders, learning how to act and behave, understanding their true self and learning the skills for life.
At a coming of age ceremony, children were initiated into adulthood, celebrated and honoured through ceremony.
Usually these processes saw girls spending time with women in which they were educated, prepared and honoured around their cyclic nature and were taught the mysteries of womanhood.
Boys would spend time in the company of men, hearing stories, being mentored, undertaking challenges and finally being honoured and welcomed into manhood with an expectation that they step up into that role.
Today sees a very different road to adulthood for children. Western culture sees teens influenced by a new age of elders – their social media accounts and the internet at large. Popular culture and technology have flooded teens’ worlds, with many conforming to the narrative of a sexualised society where a branded influencer is what it means to be a successful adult, flourishing in life.
Often their role models and the messages they receive aren’t healthy or helpful on their development into a responsible and positive adulthood.
We have lost our way in honouring the road to adulthood. Celebration through ceremony, an important part of initiation, is all but depleted in today’s world. Our teens are craving their initiation to adulthood, and in the absence these rites, are creating their own, through TikTok phenomenons, risky Instagram stories and teen created initiations such as hoon driving and Schoolies Week.
Steve Biddulph states, “A successful and happy adolescence entails hundreds of conversations about what matters, who you are and what you stand for.” Ian Grant acknowledges the important of initiations through Rites of Passages. “Ideally, Rites of passages should take place within the context of community. This immediately throws up the question – What community?… Schools are the few communities that nearly all of us with children have an association with.”
The age old African proverb states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The Rite Journey has been developed to provide our teens and families with a memorable, rewarding process to support their journey to adulthood. Placed in a school curriculum, the village can unite to support teens and celebrate their journey from child to adult.
“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.”
GERARD, dad of Rite Journey student
“I knew this program would be really powerful but the girls I am working with are taking everything on board with their Rite Journey experience and are so engaged in our conversations way beyond what I imagined… lots of telling moments already. This is so important…I’m really glad we have implemented The Rite Journey in our school.”
-KATE SCARFO, teacher of Rite Journey class at St. Andrew’s Cathedral School, Sydney
“The Rite Journey has proven to be a great coming of age experience for my daughter. Throughout Year 9 her questions and observations about life and people grew in frequency and depth. Initially I felt challenged by some of the questions she asked because it entailed a shifting away from our adult-child relationship, and I had to meet her with greater seriousness. This of course is the point and the achievement of this program.
My daughter had the framework and support to help her move through the threshold of adolescence and beyond the ambiguities and awkward stances of not knowing who they are in relation to the world and the people in it. She developed an honesty and earnestness that placed her firmly as a human being to be reckoned with. It was a great experience for her and for us, her family, to see her mature throughout the year. The silence and inner anxieties which often accompany this awkward stage of development were left in the dust and so has a momentum and courage which give us great confidence in the years to come. If you have the opportunity to get your child into The Rite Journey, don’t miss it.”
– GARRY, dad of 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”
CURTIS GASTON, Rite Journey student
“Thank you so much for the opportunity to teach this wonderful program. By far my favourite and most rewarding subject. It’s hard at times but I love it alot. I would like to share this program with every secondary school around the world. So important and so useful. I hope more schools see the light soon.”
– C. KUPKE, teacher of Rite Journey class at Immanuel College, SA
“We men love to talk, but it needs help to get started. These Man Made cards will kick things along and they will lead to brilliant sharing. Exactly what boys and men need to have.”
STEVE BIDDULPH, AUTHOR
“Raising Boys In The 21st Century”and “The New Manhood”
“Cards like this are wonderful because it starts conversation and it actually guides you with the conversation…so invaluable, I think they’re just fantastic. Definitely a good resource to look at if you’re a parent and you’re looking for a tool to start having conversations with your daughter about growing up, being a woman, living in the world that we live in.”
CATH HAKANSON, AUTHOR
“The Parent’s Guide To Puberty”