Paul Ifayomi Grant: Saving our sons
It is said that the baby must die to become the child, and the child must die to become the the man. Like the lobster that grows by developing and shedding a series of protective shells, expanding from within, the shell is shed. The lobster remains exposed and vulnerable until, in time a covering grows, replacing the old. With each passage from one stage of human growth to the next we too, must shed our protective structure. Left exposed and vulnerable to the harsh reality of the world, we develop skills and experiences, the resulting wisdom enabling us to navegate the pitfalls and roadblocks evident in this thing called life.
The journey of life is a series of passages that must be traveled to fulfill our purposes for being here. The Journey begins with birth and ends with death. In between life is but a succession of stages or passages. How we prepare, how we face these stages dictates whether we become humans or animals.
Everything that happens to us, birthdays, baptism, graduation, getting a job getting marriage, giving birth, divorce, death–affect us. Adolescence as a stage of life is one of the most difficult and important. It is that period of time where the transition to responsible adulthood must be guided in order for social balance. It is that prolonged period of development between childhood and adulthood.
So many young African males and females in societies across the globe who refuse to assume the responsibilities of adulthood, and who are consumed by narcissism, condemn themselves to perpetual adolescence, never realizing their vast potential as others take the mantle of world leaders and empire builders. In traditional societies the period between childhood and adulthood was regulated by family and community so that the age class members or individuals in a group successfully came to know themselves and purposes for existence.
However, there existed a clearly defined state of existence or passage in their lives.
In traditional societies there was little room for the “unplaced person” who are unsure of their place never coming to terms society. Part of the creation and extension of adolescence is a reflection of the disjointed narration of modern sociatal structures. The distinctions between the developmental stages of a person’s life in the melting pot culture of American Inc. and the western world -in fact anywhere that has felt the influence of Western worldview, have become blurred. A void has been created with respect to an individual’s development from childhood to maturity; it has been filled by a loosely defined adolescence that can appear to have no end.
This void is further exemplified by the decline of ritual and ceremony in a “spirituality free” or secular world. Formalized definitions of transition such as graduation or religious confirmations play a relatively minor role in our social life. The function of ritual is supposedly to imbue an event with meaning; in a modern context, ritual seems to trivialize any event. Witness the trivial symbolism of the knee-grow fraternities and their meaningless rituals . There is no evidence that a secularized or a spirituality free urban world has lessened the need for ritualized expression of an individual’s transition from one status to another. An increasing number of individuals are forced to accomplish their transition alone and with private symbols of the mundane and unfriednly society.
The casual nature of modern society often eliminates the necessity of a transition program from childhood to adulthood, though it does not eliminate the need for the individual to undergo that transition. The failure of modern society to dramatize or take serious the need for such transition during adolescence contributes to disruptive social groups such as youth gangs and the mid-life crisis of the “unplaced” or “uninitiated” persons.
What is occurring is the knowledge that the Family of light is here to give to the younger ones rightful guidance and to hand to them the reigns power to command the universal energies for the greater good of the family and community. It is always given in this manner through the rites of passage that the elders step aside and have the children who have grown intothe leadership of thecommunity. There is no other way but for the elders to reach the state of consciousness where the lifting of the veil must proceed and the great awakening begins.
All Rites of Passages are developmental and transformational and are culturally-specific. They are based on the premise that a group must recognize and affirm itself before it is able to share and appreciate the differences of others. Such a program also recognizes that entry into adult life involves developing social obligations and the responsibility for meeting them. Rites of Passage as a developmental and transformational process will not only provide self-development and cultural awareness, but will foster a sense of belonging.
The adolescents and adults will become part of community life- not persons alone, lacking support, sanction, and purpose. Every modern ethnic group or organization practices a rites of passage ritual, whether the Khazaars and their Bar/Bat Mitzfa, the Modern Romans who practice their communion through their religeon of Cathalcism, or even the military who’s basic training is a rites of passage but for their end.
Where are the national African rites of passage programs in the west. Why are they dying in the pacific and on the continent.
A people without knowledge of their story and culture is like a tree without roots.