Rites of passage

Teachers dread helicopter parents — those who constantly swoop in to rescue their children. Imagine losing your coaching job because someone’s kid (who occasionally makes practice but seldom breaks a sweat) doesn’t see much game time.

Many view helicoptering as a key factor contributing to extended adolescence, especially for men. Consider what Richard Rohr says in his excellent book, From Wild Man to Wise Man:

In almost all cultures men are not born; they are made. Much more than for women, cultures have traditionally demanded initiation rites specifically for the boys. It is almost as if the biological experiences of menstruation and childbirth are enough wisdom lessons for women, but invariably men must be tried, limited, challenged, punished, hazed, circumcised, isolated, starved, stripped, and goaded into maturity. The pattern is nearly universal, and the only real exceptions are the recent secular West.

Youthworkers and teachers know this instinctively (unless it’s our own kids we’re talking about). As you interact with students, watch and listen for challenges and hurdles that will help “make” them. Be motivated by Paul’s remarks to the Colossians:

We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me (Colossians 1:28-29).

The mandate of, “until Christ is formed in you” rings especially true in Western culture.

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