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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review: Rite of Passage - A Father's Blessing by Jim McBride

Irish poets, learn your trade, 
Sing whatever is well made, 
Scorn the sort now growing up 
All out of shape from toe to top. 
~ William Butler Yeats, poet 
 This quote by Yeats neatly sums up the fact that as adults, we are collectively a nation of stunted, spoiled children. We've forgotten how to grow up.

Oh we're aging just fine, the ever increasing sales for Botox is proof positive of that fact, but we're not maturing. Everyone says, "50 is the new 30" but those same 30-somethings are ruled by an inner child who doesn't know how to grow up.

Men in their 30s are regressing back to their childhood homes to be re-raised by their mothers, while legions of self-empowered "Sex in the City" wannabes are searching in clubs and nightlife for the absentee fathers of their youth. 

We each want what we want at the exact time we want it - which happens to be now. Isn't that a childish way to live?? As a father of two daughters, that's how my girls acted when they were infants. Yet it seems to be the normative reality in contemporary American society as we continue on an unending plane of perpetual midlife immaturity.

Author Jim McBride's book A Rite of Passage: A Father's Blessing offers a welcome respite from our adolescent addling over our current wants and future fears by paying homage to traditions of the past. McBride introduces the reader to the underlying concept of a "rite of passage," which was a time-honored practice that recognized and celebrated a child's transition to adulthood.

Amazingly, this ancient tradition cut across culture, race, religion, geography and gender - but somehow managed to fall into a westernized-Peter-Pan coma during the 20th century and beyond. The author stresses a need to reengage that practice of the past, to ensure the well being of our future.

McBride writes about the history and application of the ritual of the rite and how it's comprised of three critical elements: separation, transition and incorporation back with the family or group. He explains each of these phases and its role in transforming a self-focused taker into a community-centered contributor. Then McBride adds a twist to the ritualistic mix and introduces an instructional overly made up of the following:
  • faith 
  • hope
  • love
  • purity 
  • integrity
  • family
McBride then personalizes the book and dedicates a chapter to each of his own children - he as four, two boys and two girls - and their respective "rite of passage" into adulthood. Each of his homespun examples was unique, powerful, and heartfelt including quotes from trusted participants and his adult children themselves who spoke passionately about the impact that the faith-based ritual had on their lives.

In Rite of Passage, McBride reaches back for proven, time-tested navigation tools from the past to help parents map a course for their future progeny.  Perhaps it's time to reconsider traditions that are old and make them new again - that might be the first step toward our collective maturation process.

Today's post is part of the Rite of Passage Blog Tour ,  be sure to comment below and either tweet this on Twitter or share it on Facebook to be entered into a drawing to receive a FREE copy of Jim's Book!

Question: Have you ever experienced a rite of passage yourself? Developed one for your child?

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