Grand Parents and Rites of Passage

Grand Parents

My Grandfather was a good teacher. When I was a kid, my grand parents lived in a house that had fruit trees in the backyard. Every year my Grandfather would spray the trees, he would always call me out to keep him company. I enjoyed watching him work, but now I understand that he was teaching me all the time. He taught me how to prune trees, and then paint over the cut spot, he taught me how to start a sapling from seed and plant it, that peach tree lived over 25 years. My Grandfather is no longer with me but the many, many lessons that he taught me are with me to this day.

My Grandmother was a good teacher too; she was a very social lady, and because of that, my cousin and I began hostessing when we were about 8 years old.   We can each set a table with the best of them.   She liked to have conversations with  us.   She taught us many lessons just by conversation, she told us how to deal with the boys and how to behave like a lady. When I got old enough to date, my first date always included a visit to my Grandparents house because they always knew if the date was a nice young man or not.

I thank my grand parents for those lessons, they helped me become the adult that I am today. I take every opportunity to teach my grandchildren like my grandparents taught me. When we became adults our grandmother would have a talk with each of us, letting us know that we were no longer children and had to behave like adults. I hope that my grandchildren turn out to be great adults. My grandparents did a pretty good job with me.

Rites of Passage

Rites of Passage or Coming of Age has been celebrated, with a ceremony, by many cultures throughout history. A rites of passage or coming of age ceremony is held when their young people enter adulthood. Outside of the celebration that young people have with their friends, becoming an adult in the U.S., is mostly uneventful.

Depending on the culture, the ceremonies usually occur when a young person is considered an adult somewhere between,16 to 21 years old. Some of these ceremonies involve the whole community. Others are simple; a haircut and change of clothes, a prayer with the priest “laying hands on you, or a big dinner. Some ceremonies are a bit more complex, with requirements like kill a goat, or spend three days in the wilderness.

One thing that all of these events have in common is that the new adults understands their role, as adults. They are expected to uphold their duty and obligation to their families, their community and society.

These young people have been trained, taught and mentored, into adulthood. They were taught by family members or assigned coaches. They have learned how to behave as an adult and how to function as an adult. (Yes there is a difference).

Japan has a “coming of age day”, once a year, in January, the entire country celebrates the new adults. (wikipedia, rites of passage) Imagine the encouragement that comes with having an entire country celebrate your adulthood.

These events increase confidence, and formally, transfer the responsibility of adulthood to the young person. The new adult knows what is expected of him in the future.

I believe that if the Black Community adopted a rites of passage tradition and began mentoring our youth toward adult hood; that within a couple of years, significant improvements could be seen in the outcomes of our youth.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’ em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

It takes a village to raise a child and this is My Village Project.

Take Care of Your Village

The Village Mother


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