Rites of Passage in a World That Is Not Flat

David G. Blumenkrantz
The Systems Thinker®
Pegasus Communications
Vol.20 No.8 October 2009
We have known for hundreds of years that the world is not flat,
and yet linear thinking is still pervasive in Western culture.
An example of this linear orientation is the creation of programs
for "fixing" societal issues. Our national policy on child development
is directed to "closing the achievement gap" and "raising test scores."
But what if we decided to focus again on "raising children" and not on
"raising test scores"? What might be possible if the linear thinking
that drives much of our education, youth and human development efforts
could be shifted toward systems thinking?

Coming of Age and Awakening to Spiritual Consciousness through Rites of Passage

David G. Blumenkrantz, PhD & Kathryn L. Hong (2008). New Directions for Youth Development, Chapter 9 No. 118, Summer 2008. Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Rites of passage have been a human pathway to such spiritual consciousness for more than ten thousand years. Dr. Blumenkrantz, along with Ms. Hong, describe the history and importance of rites of passage as a critical element of youth development and offer a glimpse into practice.

Spiritual Development - Rites of Passage: Pathways to Spirituality for Adolescents

David G. Blumenkrantz
April 2007

Blumenkrantz, D.G. Rites of passage: Pathways to spirituality for adolescents. Search Institute: The Center for Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence, (2007).
Puberty is a time increasing physical and spiritual energies. Children are entering a new stage of cognitive development. They begin to wonder about the mysteries in the Universe and their place in it. Rites of passage respond to a child’s inner yearning to explore the great mysteries. This article explores Einstein’s relationship to God, the history of rites of passage and contemporary forms that focus on establishing a pathway for awakening youth to their spiritual self.

Rites of passage during adolescence

The Forum for Family and Consumer Issues.
Fall 2007, Vol. 12, No. 2.
Scheer, Scott D., Gavazzi, Stephen M., The Ohio State University. 
Blumenkrantz, David G., Center for the Advancement of Youth,
Family, and Community Services, Inc. 

The literature on rites of passage in adolescence is reviewed,
with particular attention given to the essential components for
positive developmental outcomes. Three human development
orientations-life course, life span, and life cycle are presented to examine.

Lessons from Food Franchises

David G. Blumenkrantz, Ph.D.
Lessons from Food Franchises offers another approach to impacting systems frequently entrenched and maintaining motion from their own inertia. Taking from the laws of physics and observations in real world situations, Dr. Blumenkrantz compels the readers to reconsider the traditional method of education and training for small and large order systems change. Rites of passage is used as a vehicle to help people change their thinking and hence their paradigms that restrict school reform.

“What Happens to a Community Intervention When the Community Doesn’t Show-Up? Restoring Rites of Passage as a Consideration For Contemporary Community Intervention,” Family Science Review, 11 (3), August 1998.

Blumenkrantz, D. & Wasserman, D
Community programming that addresses the dangers facing today’s youth and families abound. However, little of it appears to be based on a psychological sense of community. As sense of community declines, so do rites of passage. This article examines a sense of community and its relationship to rites of passage. It also articulates learning opportunities for all members of a community that promotes positive youth development and community collaboration on behalf of youth and community development through rites of passage.

“Developing Capable Communities,” Reach Out, Summer 1990.

Blumenkrantz, D.
If rituals of initiation lasted for thousands of years in pre-modern cultures, how has its current absence impacted society? What would our world be like today in the absence of wedding and funeral rituals? What benchmarks and guides would help us navigate the complex waters of life in the modern world? This article points out the relationship between developing a sense of community and building their capacity for more comprehensive youth development strategies through rites of passage.

“Let’s Play: Initiating Youth Into the Healthy World of Play,” Blumenkrantz,D., in Developing Competent Youth and Strong Communities Through After School Programming.

Gullotta, T. (Ed.), CWLA Press, 2000.
Gives an overview of the history of play and practical considerations for youth and community development through rites of passage. Examines after-school activities and offers practical steps to guide communities to better utilize them within a rites of passage context.

“The Rite Way: Guiding Youth to Adulthood
and the Problem of Communitas” (Chapter V)., Raising the Village for the Child.

Blumenkrantz, D. (Reprint. 36 pages. $9.00)
Focuses on the ten essential ingredients necessary for the successful
implementation of community-based primary prevention initiatives,
especially those utilizing the "ancient ounce of prevention,"
rites of passage. Discusses the 3 phases of a contemporary rites
of passage paradigm, the Rite of Passage Experience© (ROPE®).
Raises a number of practical considerations such as: "Can we
really create contemporary rites of passages?" Also addresses
the use of rites of passages a vehicle to effectively mobilize a
community for the creation of viable primary prevention strategies
that use rites of passage.

The Rite Way: Guiding Youth to Adulthood and
the Problem of Communities.

Blumenkrantz, D.; UMI Dissertation Services, Ann Arbor,
MI; 1996. (PhD Dissertation. 300 pages. $49.50.)

An in-depth exploration of the inextricable relationship between
rites of passage and a psychological sense of community; one requires
the other, and sets forth compelling historical evidence. Interdisciplinary
synthesis of material, rich with stories, includes a gripping account
of one of the author's experiences with rites of passage. Reviews
literature on rites of passage, psychological sense of community,
ritual, and applied action research. Includes an overview of the
puberty and initiation rites of over 50 cultures around the world.
Grapples with contemporary society's absence of rites of passage
and a psychological sense of community, its impact, and what we
can do about it.

Fulfilling the Promise of Children’s Services.

Blumenkrantz, D.; Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 1992. (Book.
200 pages. $45.50.)

Why primary prevention efforts fail and how they can succeed. An
extensive treatment of the process of primary prevention including
discussion of the necessity of a paradigm shift, practical considerations
for implementing primary prevention and community-based rite of
passage strategies.

“Guiding Transitional Events for Children
and Adolescents Through a Modern Day Rite of Passage,” Journal
of Primary Prevention, 13(3), 1992.

Blumenkrantz, D. & Gavazzi, S. (Article Reprint. 21
pages. $8.00.)

Highlights contemporary society's need to maintain rituals of initiation.
It focuses on the process of rites of passage and how it serves
as a vehicle to guide community mobilization efforts. The three
stages of the comprehensive primary prevention community intervention
2 the Rite of Passage Experience© (ROPE®) are described.

“Facilitating Clinical Work with Adolescents
and their Families through the Rite of Passage Experience© Program,” Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 4(2), 1992.

Gavazzi, S. & Blumenkrantz, D. (Article Reprint. 15
pages. $8.00.)

Focuses on the relationship between a primary prevention initiative,
the Rite of Passage Experience©, and subsequent therapeutic
work with children and their families. The paper defines the clinical
utility of the ROPE® program. It challenges the field of prevention
and therapy to consider the importance of prevention initiatives
that can be utilized as a function for subsequent psychotherapy
with children and families.

John Deere and the Bereavement Counselor

By John L. McKnight
In: McKnight, John. The Careless Society: Community and Its Counterfeits. Basic books publishers. New York. 1995.

This well-known parable is a marvelous beginning to McKnight’s important contribution to community organizing and how we are becoming a care less society.

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