Every young boy will someday wear a man’s body. Whether he ever makes it to manhood remains another story.
In many cultures, the rite of passage functions to create and shape a population of men who are deeply in touch with the ancient rivers of man-wisdom. Such wisdom flows through our collective memory. In many cases, the rite temporarily transports a boy from mother-nurture into the margins of society where pride can be replaced with confidence. In the wilderness, the elders of the community impart the wisdom and expectations of manhood into the boys. Through different experiences and stories, the elders pass on the instincts that should help the young ones emerge into manhood equipped for a variety of experiences. When they return, their mothers (co-conspirators with the rite), demand that the elders introduce this new man to her. She recognizes the face of her boy, but she knows him not.
In most places inhabited by the descendants of Europe, we have all but lost a rite of passage. There are sports and hunting, but sense tells us that those intoxicated by either are sucked deeper into boyishness than naught.
Instead of a fiercely compassionate community of men (though this man does exist in some), we see emerging gang violence, drug abuse, alcoholism, absent fathers, and heavy use of pornography among other problems. These all point to one deafening challenge: if we cannot creatively assist males back onto their journey towards manhood, there’s no telling how much havoc our community of grown boys will wreak before all is said and done. There is no question: we must get our males off their “lazy boys” where they view their “play boys” and position them to enter into the realm of selfless, confident manhood. And we need the generations of initiated men gone by to lead us there.
What would our world be like if a community of matured men nurtured this earth and all who live in her?