Monday, December 2, 2013

Rights of Passage

I have been thinking recently about the power that certain moments and times of our lives have to shape our future.  In short, I have been thinking about the power of rights of passage.  These are moments that for many of us define the direction of our lives for many years to come.  They inform us about our sexuality, our power or lack of it, freedom, self-control, and our worldviews. 

The thing that has interested me more recently is that our American culture is greatly lacking rights of passage and our youth are hurting because of it.  Perhaps it is not that we have no rights of passage, but rather that we have poor rights of passage.  In the lack of positive rights of passage which anchor our lives in positive things such identity, character, or values we have allowed the lack of well thought out rights of passage to take charge.

Think about this for just a moment.  Because we have failed to shape our young people through significant rights of passage our culture has taken the driver seat in our absence.  Driving, smoking, and Sex have become the rights of passage.  Meaning that when you drive, smoke or have sex your now a mature adult.  But as we know the ability to perform certain things is a far cry from maturity and usually causes damage when our character cannot back the choices that we make.  Sex without restraint, faithfulness, and commitment is destructive.  Smoking or drinking in excess without self-control is harmful to ourselves and often others. 

It seems to me that we have an opportunity here to begin to think differently about our students and children as they are growing up.  What areas could we be taking an active interest in their lives shaping them to have character and values?  What impact could we have as responsible, caring adults if we were to actually look our kids in the eyes and speak worth and value into them?  What lives would be changed if a father took his role seriously to teach his daughter how a real man treats a woman with respect?  What if he took his daughter on a date and told her she was beautiful and that she deserved respect?  How many girls lives would be changed by that moment?  How many young men lives would be changed if their fathers took an active interest in their sons?  What if we did more than just show up to the games...what if we took our boys camping just so that we could spend time with them and share the stories of our lives and what we have learned?  How many boys lives would be changed by that moment?

I used to be a teacher and I was always shocked when I would hear the kids talk about who had impacted their lives.  Most often it was an old grandpa or grandma or everyday average person who would simply take the risk to talk and open up with a kid.   You don't have to be a superhero, you just have to be honest about you and your story and what you have learned.  They are listening and watching for something better...we just have to give it to them.  What could happen if you realized you have the ability to change some kids life because you took an interest in them.

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