Personally, growing up I experienced and saw very few rites of passage. Yes I heard of the occasional Ba/Bar Mitzvahs and Quinceaneras, yet none of them ever pertained to me. The closest thing I had to “Rites of Passage” were graduations from elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, high school to college and soon college to adulthood. Each one of these involved the entire community and expressed a new coming of age and maturity that we were all unfamiliar too. Yet even these events never truly had the same effect as proper community held rites of passage. No values or ethics were really discussed and the community never changed how they perceived us, which gave us little incentive to change ourselves. In David Blumenkrantz article Rites of Passage as a Framework for Community Intervention with Youth he states that rites of passage “requires rethinking [of] the connection between youth and community development.” Regardless of our parents, or even our attempts grow and change through a rite of passage, all attempts are made futile because the perspective and relationship between the community and the child almost never changes. The community doesn’t begin to even see the young adult as their own person until they go to college and then get a job and an “adult.” Going to college has been the closest success I have had at having a rite of passage. In which, I experienced “separation, liminality and incorporation” (Blumenkrantz, 1996, p.21). Myself and my home community experienced separation when I physically left the community to go to college. Where I then faced liminality in which I was stuck between my old, younger self and my future adult self. The first time reentering my home community after leaving for college, we experienced incorporation. In which the relationship between myself and the community had changed, to them I finally matured into my own person, yet at the same time abided by similar values and ethics as them.
Unfortunately, there are some who I have encountered that have never gone through any sort of rite of passage, causing them to forever be at a standstill in life; between wanting to be protected and taken care of by the community and wanting to have the freedoms and respect that come from being an adult. Then there is the opposite, that due to the lack of rites of passage, younger generations have been trying to mature earlier and earlier before they or the community are ready. Resulting in them experiencing things in life that they are not yet ready for. There has been a severe lack of communication of values and expectations between the community and the youth, which only continues to increase due to technology. Technology has formed a gap amongst people and their community, while at the same time increasing the size of the community in which the youth is exposed to, causing the divide to grow even larger.
Yet, technology can also aid in the fight to encourage and experience Rites of Passage. For-instance, the task to create a digital story has been one of my main motivators during my time abroad, to try and take as much as I can from my experience and make it a type of rite of passage, that I can then later show to my home community. In my digital story I will be focusing on three of the twenty elements of rites of passage: Time alone for reflection mixed in with connection to nature, connection with ancestral roots and Play. One of the main questions I intended on addressing through this rites of passage, was “who I am as an individual and how my past and the past of my parents effect that?” These three elements each played the most role in helping me come to a conclusion as to who I am as an individual, in the sense that Play and connection with ancestral roots helped me get an understanding of my family’s culture and how that has made me who I am today, meanwhile self-reflection in nature helped me determine who I am not as a result of my parents, who I want to be.
When watching the digital stories, the one by Monte Hallis, called Tanya really resonated the most with me. Although it was short, the overall depiction of the story was very powerful. The music used, inflicted a lot of sad emotion that made you feel how much she cared for Tanye. The pictures and videos mirrored the script well which made it more realistic and as if you were experiencing that relationship first hand, it wasn’t just words and random pictures.
Blumenkrantz, D. G., Goldstein, M. B. (2010). Rites of Passage as Framework for
Community Interventions with Youth. Global Journal for Community Psychology
Practice. 1 (2), 41-50.