When the government calls you an adult and when you feel like an adult are two different times. As a teenager I thought smoking a cigarette marked the transition because that was the first thing I did, I bought a pack of cigarettes. 

As a man today I realize I did not feel like an adult then. I only know this because I feel like one now. The difference is dramatic. So this presents a problem that I think needs to be solved in American society. What kind of rituals are we providing our youths so they know they are entering adulthood? 

Cultures in times past sent their older teens on nature quests. Spend ‘X’ amount of time alone surviving in the wilderness and when you come back you are an adult in the villages eyes. Why did we get away from this? 

As parents if we did a good job teaching our children survival skills for the world we live in then it should not be anything but pride that you feel when they leave. Right? Perhaps over time we have stopped the traditional rights of passages handed down because somewhere along the lines a parent was a horrible teacher and did not prepare their children for survival. So then it became cruel. All I hear is excuses on all accounts. 

In our culture today sending your kid into the wilderness is much to dangerous because we don’t know the woods anymore. The streets are even worse. So what has replaced this important part of human nature? You can’t tell me graduating high school, buying smokes and voting are it. That’s the celebration we offer? That’s the test? Grab this paper, smoke a cigarette and choose your leader kid…yup, now your an adult! Good luck! Perhaps as a culture we should be creating end of high school celebrations that specifically mark the end of one stage and the beginning of another. A clear line that can be crossed. For some their parents may have done this, good for them. But for many this is unusual. 

Food For Thought: What Right Of Passage Would Have Been Instrumental In Your Life?

For me I think I would have done well to have been taken somewhere wild with a group of people my age and forced to find my way back and survive. Or maybe have to set up a camp and live there alone…I don’t know, something like that is what I would have preferred. Accomplishment of something difficult is the key for me.

With Love
Jeff Utnage