I follow Mark’s Daily Apple. I find the Primal/Paleo diet a great resource for healthy eating as well as gluten-free and often, casien-free recipes. Mark Sesson writes about more than just food. He also writes about the difference between modern lifestyles and past, or even pre-historic lifestyles as it pertains to our physical, mental and emotional health. He recently had an article on Rites of Passage.
In this article, he outlines the loss of certain types of Rites of Passage that existed and still do exist in tribal communities. He explains the way these rituals relates to us as humans and social animals.Even before I had children, this topic was always of particular interest to me. Reading it as the parent of an Aspie gave me a new perspective on the subject.
Mark points out that the Rites of Passage of the past were linked to skills that the youth would need to participate effectively in their community.
“The young native American teen sent off into the darkness with nothing but a bow and arrow and expected to return with a wolf pelt or two or three. The Masaai warrior tasked with stalking and killing a lion in single combat.”
The ability to participate effectively in their community was the qualifier to recognition as an adult in their community.Our modern and western society does not have a universally accepted qualifier. We are either individually or as a family left to identify for ourselves what marks that threshold from child to adult.
Mark describes a modern mother’s attempt to formalize this process for her child:
“Consider what Claire Potter did for her thirteen year old boy. She devised a list of thirteen challenges covering thirteen different areas of life for him to tackle and complete, including shopping for clothes on a budget, taking public transportation to far away cities, doing chores, learning a musical instrument and playing in public, and learning a language. He didn’t hunt lions or endure stinging ants, because he doesn’t “need” those skills. He’s more likely to use the skills he did learn in his life in this world.”
Could this be helpful in teaching our children, both typical and a-typical, how to navigate the society and world they have been born into? Could the formalization of this process be a better fit for the minds of our children?