Angry young men are justified in being angry because they have no real rites of passage that help them mark stages in life while grasping their significance.
I remember at my confirmation the crusty, guest priest went up and down the first 2 pews in the church asking each person being confirmed what their chosen name was. Mine was Peter. The name meant nothing to me really.
Another guy had chosen Michael so the priest made some comment on the meaning of that name.
We were about 30 people to be confrmed. I think all of us were around 13 years old except for a few adults The adults chose to be there. I felt no impending transformation or need to give myself a different name. The name identifies the new you that confirms the belief in God your parents claimed at your baptism. Yet I have never used the additional name and it embodies nothing for me.
When a coming of age ceremony is conducted by someone with dignity there is a transference of the truth based struggle for self – awareness to the participants. The concept of taking on a new name is so it is an anchor for this peak moment of nervous inspiration and cellular refinement. This new name carries the authenticity of life so far combined with the courage and skills that we engage through our transformation.
Generally we have starved our sensibilities to the planet and the journey of human development. As a result the point of rites of passage is lost on most of us.
A man might project confidence, indifference or toughness but in many cases he is not in sync with the role of his soul. The soul is the bridge from child to youth, from youth to adult, from adult to elder. Each of these involves a transformation of you that is witnessed and celebrated. Witnessing allows the man to know that he is supported while he may feel lost or not know which direction to point his daily decisions. Those who support our young men know he must grow as a capable man that finds solutions not excuses. That seeks insights not openings to ridicule. That wants companionship not violence.
Just because he is angry does not justify violence against women. And just because he is lost and can’t find a good guide or mentor doesn’t justify violence against women.
Rather, his transformation into an emotionally agile man is to be celebrated so people can sense he is a unique expression of manhood and tribe.
Rites of passage can be simple. They can be ancient poems or spontaneous encouragements as long as the sentiment is to locate and appreciate the young man in the hyper–now of his life.
Rites of passage can be with just one witness or a ceremony followed by a big party.
Young men can have a conversation at 7:30 on a Tuesday with a man about life, about women and making love, about expressing the urge to love-and-be -loved, about personal religion, about posture and martial arts and The Art of War and oration and humility, about dancing, about making money and doing business and a good sense of humour, about nature spirits and healing and self respect. Any combination of those important topics can do the job of bridging the adolescent into the next stage. We as a tribe need to create these rites of life stage change. Or just connect the ceremonies we already have with a human development journey.