Sunday, January 27, 2008

New American Rite of Passage

I'm all for community. I'm not all for pre-ordained religious upbringing. Specifically, I'm fully against the idea of circumcision and religious rites of that kind that the kid has no say in. I think that if you want to get a kid interested in a religion (specifically if it's the one you believe in), than you've got to let them choose it themselves, and you've got to spend a good chunk of time proving to them by showing them why it's so good for them. It should take around 13 years or so. By that time, they might have seen a few things and watched you do your thing, and be more capable of deciding which religion, if any is right for them. I think boys and girls are capable of making this decision on their own. A Jewish Bar or Bat Mitzvah is okay, but only if the kid wants to do it. That's some big pressure there, folks. If they choose the path themselves, it's far more likely to be chosen with passion and conviction (such as it is at that age). At 13, it should be a big deal, that they get to investigate their religious options and make a conscious choice about it.

A sweeet 16 party is alright, or a quinciniera, but notice there's nothing for the boys becoming men at that age? They go through rites of passage alright, but not those you might want them to if you're their parent. I say we give all our kids a specific target that they can look forward to that means "in our culture, becoming an adult is something important, and choice is a big part of that, taking responsibility for that choice." Word.

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