|Re: Kids & work & rites of passage||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Denise Cote' (denisediac.com)|
|Date: Tue, 3 Dec 1996 11:05:32 -0600|
Mike Mariner said: >One of the many shortcomings of mainstream society is a dearth of rites of >passage that mark the changes in freedoms and responsibilities when we enter >a new life stage. These stages don't have to be limited to birth, puberty, >marriage, death. Most of us go through pretty major changes every 7 to 10 >years. If we start celebrating rites of passage, it will become clear for >all ages what expectations go with a stage. As young folks are taking on >more of the hard labor, elders transition to being "wise elders." A few years ago I participated in a rite of passage for a group of 15 adolescents. They went on a 5-day vision quest in the Utah desert with several adult supervisors. I was a "dreamwalker" along with 3 other people. The dreamwalkers had almost no direct contact with the teenagers--we stayed in the background, invisible (even the adult supervisors didn't know where we were or what we were up to), orchestrating a series of events and experiences over the course of a few days that culminated in passing through a "gateway" (we used a natural arch) and a solo overnight for each of the kids/young adults. Something very powerful and transformative occurred during those 5 days, not just for the vision questers, but for we dreamwalkers as well. We set out a series of tasks for the kids that became increasingly more challenging both physically and psychologically, and at first these kids just didn't seem up to it. They had never been asked to work before! Late on the fourth day the moment of choice arrived: should they go to the effort of climbing to the arch and the scary, unknown experience of being alone with themselves, or should they retreat to Moab and party, then go home to the comforts of soft beds, hot showers, and shopping malls? The group was paralyzed with conflict. But there must be something compelling about advancing to the next stage of life, because that is what they chose. They faced down their final--and by far the most difficult--challenge with all their hearts, and earned the right to pass through the gate. I was awed by the power of the story we had set in motion. Out in the wilderness, there was a lot that was beyond our control, but Nature was our ally, sending us capricious winds, mountain lions, eagles, thunderstorms, and rainbows at key moments of the quest. It was as though the story of the quest had a life of its own; it seized us and began telling itself to its exalting conclusion. This may have gone a little far off track, but I believe community is where the human journey is going to be remembered and restored. Rites of passage are essential nourishment for our souls, and I agree with Mike that we should celebrate them. As for kids and work, learning how to handle responsibilities and how to expend effort in order to accomplish a worthwhile goal are great ways to prepare for later stages of life. Sure, let kids play, but encourage them to contribute, and honor and acknowledge them for doing so. --Denise, Dreamwalker and Communitarian Geneva Community Lyons, Colorado Denise Cote' Boulder, Colorado denise [at] diac.com
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