The rite way
There is a way to help students to develop into healthy young men and women - by creating meaningful rites of passage. The health and well-being of boys, as well as girls, are matters rarely off the educational agenda, and substantial thought and resources have been devoted to them over the years, yet educators still appear to be failing to meet the needs of children, particularly boys, in the current education system. More than that, educators appear to be failing at a time when the burden of responsibility for the emotional and social education of children is shifting from the family to the school. Worse still for boys, Western society has lost some of the most significant emotional and social educational tools: initiation and rites of passage. The authors describe a program they created called the Rite Journey, in which the role of men is to act as guides for boys searching for what it means to be a man, and the best men they can become. The program is based on the seven steps of a hero's journey; these seven stages frame the ceremonies and celebrations that occur throughout the year. Each of these ceremonies or celebrations acknowledges the passage, the emphasis being to honour the process and the boys' experiences as they undertake the passage. A version of the Rite Journey has now also been created for girls. [Author abstract, ed]
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