Boys have the least. And the ones they do have aren't usually noble-their first beer, their first joint, their first sexual experience, for example. Many boys don't know what it means to make the transition from boyhood to manhood, except that mom and dad are nagging them to get off the couch and find a job. And "failure to launch" is epidemic.
Hispanic cultures love ceremony, and I think they're onto something. A girl's quinceanera is a kind of coming-out party to show she is now a young woman. In a small village in the Dominican Republic this week we worked with a local missionary to host a rite of passage ceremony mostly geared towards the elementary children. The kids had read The Princess and the Kiss and The Squire and the Scroll and completed a basic study of the virtues.
I have attended these ceremonies for years as the author of these children's books, and seen the same thing in tiny third-world villages as in highly manicured backyards or even castles. Rites of passage change children's lives forever.
In our ceremony this week, those children who had mastered a basic understanding of virtue and nobility were rewarded in a formal ceremony. Girls were crowned as royalty and given a ring and a storybook of their own. Boys knelt and were knighted by an actor wearing the medallion you see above (with a real sword!), and given a crown and shield to symbolize their royalty and roles as protectors. Then we had some really good cake!
Each child's name was called. Each child had meaningful, simple words read over them. Each child was congratulated and applauded. And those children are not the same anymore after being formally, publicly honored and challenged to be honorable in their community. As they are reminded of this event (and perhaps others), they will be challenged again and again to reach for goodness, truth and beauty.
As an author, it's amazing to see a story come to life. In The Squire and the Scroll, we tied our ceremony in with the Knights of the Lantern in the book. But even better than seeing a book come to life is to see a child come to life-to recognize their place in a community and the vital need to act honorably-and to take that very seriously.
PurityWorks rites of passage are only one way to accomplish this. If you'd like to see what we did in the DR, like the Facebook page PurityWorks Trips to see the pictures and the ceremony. The photos are amazing! And www.purityworks.org can show you what else we do in the family and parent training arenas.
Have you planned any kind of rite of passage for your child yet?
Start thinking about it now. It can happen when they're six, or eight, or twelve, or sixteen ... anytime, for almost any reason you want. They can be simple or intricately planned. They can involve the family, friends, church or just a parent and child. They simply need to celebrate your child.
These unforgettable events are the stepping stones to a life of confidence, nobility, honor and service. They are the seeds that grow into a mature purity that works!