We believe that rites of passage are universal and emerge in relationship to and informed by culture, context and the natural places in which people are born and/or live.
We believe that all things are related and the little things are so big.
We believe that children are like a big radar dish receiving more information than we can imagine. Everything we do and say has an impact.
We believe that everything people need to know about rearing children, rites of passage and strengthening a sense of community they already know. As “thought partners” we help people remember.
We believe that a community’s rite of passage story emerges through civic engagement that builds “social capital,” which is what results when people work together to resolve common issues.
We believe that authentic partnerships, forged from trust, mutual respect and honoring diversity across an array of individuals and institutions can support the conditions for principles to inform and guide the emergence of integrated design strategies across the traditional spectrum of service delivery:
We believe that something needs to happen around the time of puberty for children and their parents that honor and respects nature’s signal for coming of age process through initiation and rites of passage to commence.
Like threads in a tapestry language weaves a common story that links techniques for clinical practice in prevention with identification, treatment and maintenance. What follows are some of the components integrated for a community-oriented rite of passage. Each component is linked to a foundational rite of passage experience that commences around the time or puberty and/or the transition from primary to secondary around the age of 10 – 12. The details of each component are included in publications based on experiences accumulated over forty years.
The Rite Of Passage Experience© ROPE® is used as an exemplar of the application of the twenty elements in the architectural structure for youth & community development through rites of passage. It is both an organizing process and a series of design principles that inform and guide the creation of each setting’s rite of passage. The twenty elements are designed to help each group and community formulate their rite of passage experience. It is only one way. Together in community you will find the RITE WAY!
Please scroll down and open the Bibliography section for the citations listed below.
Emergent design - A community’s rite of passage story emerges through civic engagement that builds “social capital,” which is what results when people work together to resolve common issues. It engages people in conversations and experiences for exploring the process of initiation and harvests their collective wisdom through an intentional community organizing process that results in their own rite of passage experience[i].
Something Happens - By targeting children, their parents, and families in the transition grades between primary and secondary school they are engaged in a common Story through a strategy known as the Rite Of Passage Experience© ROPE®. It is the foundation story – with a common language that ties all of a community’s resources together and puts the theory of youth and community development through rites of passage into practice[ii].
Intentional design as if all things are related - The ROPE® strategy is designed as a bridge between the traditional paradigm of “professional service delivery” to one that builds compassionate citizens & communities that remember rites of passage. “The Rite of Passage Experience© ROPE® Guide for Promoting Youth & Community Maturation & Health” is in the form of a “curriculum.” In reality it is a practice guide that includes principles for organizing a community for a change and design strategies to enact adaptive change that nurtures all life[iii].
It’s not about a generation gap – It’s about the absence of rites of passage – This whole system’s approach has a number of carefully designed strategies (programs) that focus on specific populations, such as: parents, children, community organizations, education, etc., with unique developmental challenges – i.e. collision of transition to focus on parent’s entry into mid-life and release of their children and opportunities to affirm, honor and celebrate significant milestones in people’s lives. While the design strategies, i.e. “programs” target specific populations with unique challenges our orientation focuses interventions to integrate and link all of the challenges and people within a whole living system where all things are related[iv].
ROPE® for children – It is the “call to attention & action.” ROPE® offers an adaptive set of strategies designed to prepare children to enter adolescents and their parents and families to make a place for their child’s emerging adulthood within a community’s story of rites of passage. It is the community’s acknowledgement that a process of initiation and rites of passage is commencing. Children engage in transformative experiences, which unveil their authentic self in loving relationship to nature and others that helps forge a strong identity with ethics for compassion, civility, civic engagement and deepening connection to nature and a sacred Earth[v].
ROPE® for parents – It is aligned with their children’s Rite Of Passage Experience, ROPE® introduces a common language based in emotional experiences - builds parent coalitions that serve as small villages of support to mentor each other’s children and meet the challenges of mid-life transition and releasing their children. Parents learn to become fluent in a common language to raise their children together.
Initiation of Scholars© - A component of ROPE® that impacts academic achievement while creating a climate of caring, civility, compassion and respect throughout the education community[vi].
Finding Your Bliss: Second phase of the ROPE® story views play as secular spirituality – connecting all middle school students with positive leisure time activities as a central expectation (“common core”) for the development of the whole child. “If you help a child find their ‘bliss’ it’s the best protective factor against all adolescent problems.” Finding their “bliss” an outlet for their creativity opens an inlet to their true value and identity. Play is a pathway for re-creating an authentic self that is resilient an able to adapt to a changing world in ways that nurture themselves and all life[vii].
Therapy as Initiation: When a community adopts a story of rites of passage in their education and youth development policy a technique for identifying and intervening with adolescence and their families is available should problems develop. The technique builds on the language & lessons of student’s Rite Of Passage Experience, which reframes problems and therapy into the language of rites of passage and gives youth the skills and techniques to be fully engaged partners in co-researching and resolving this ordeal in the initiatory process[viii].
Service to others and the community is established as an expectation for all youth as part of the 3rd phase of a community’s ROPE® story. It serves as a measure of children’s maturity and advancement through adolescence and into adulthood[ix].
College as a place of initiation – Establishes regional Institutes for the Advancement and Study of Youth and Community Development through Rites of Passage. Provides orientation framework for everyone in the college community – (i.e., First Year Experience). College students engage in systematic study, experiences and practicums within surrounding communities in their efforts to help rites of passage emerge in communities[x].
Finding your authentic spiritual self Coming of age within a community “Story” of initiation honors the central developmental task of adolescents - finding identity, meaning and purpose and a search for their authentic spiritual self. Rites of passage are the public unification of secular and spiritual practices that affirm an individual’s transition while creating the conditions for an emerging adult to feel a sense of connection with their community, culture, nature and self. In reciprocity it strengthens the bonds between people in a community in ways that serve survival[xi].
[i] Blumenkrantz, D.G. Coming of Age the RITE Way: Youth & Community Development through Rites of Passage. Oxford University Press (In press) 2016.
[ii] Blumenkrantz, D.G. & Goldstein, M. Rites of passage as a framework for community interventions with youth. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice Vol. 1 (2), (2010). Online: http://www.gjcpp.org/en/article.php?issue=3&article=10
[iii] Scheer, Scott D., Gavazzi, Stephen M., and David G. Blumenkrantz. Rites of passage during adolescence. The Forum for Family and Consumer Issues, 12 (2), (2007).Online: http://ncsu.edu/ffci/publications/2007/v12n2-2007-fall/index-v12n2-nov-2007.php
[iv] Blumenkrantz, D.G. Rite of passage experience, ROPE®: Guide for promoting youth & community maturation & health. Hummingbird Press @ the Center. (Editions:1981, 1998, 2010, 2015).
[v] Blumenkrantz, D.G. and Gavazzi, S.M., Guiding transitional events for children and adolescents through a modern day rite of passage. Journal of Primary Prevention, Vol. 13 (3), (1993).
[vi] Blumenkrantz, D. (Ed.) A Guide for Action: A Whole School Approach to Improving School Climate. Operation Respect (2005).
Blumenkrantz, D.G. Rites of Passage in a World That is not Flat. The Systems Thinker® Pegasus Communications vol. 20 No. 8 October (2009).
[vii] Blumenkrantz, D.G. Let’s play: Initiating youth into the healthy world of play. In: Gullotta, T., (ed) Developing competent youth and strong communities through after school programming. Child Welfare League of America Press, (2000).
[viii] Blumenkrantz, D.G. and Gavazzi, S.M, The mess of mental illness. Connect, Vol. 10 (1), pg. 4-8, (1989).
Gavazzi, S.M. and Blumenkrantz, D.G., Facilitating clinical work with adolescents and their families through the rite of passage experience program. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, Vol. 4 (2), (1993).
[ix] Blumenkrantz, D.G. and Wasserman, D. What happens to a community intervention when a community doesn’t show-up? Restoring rites of passage as a consideration for contemporary community intervention. Family Science Review 11 (3), (1998).
[x] Blumenkrantz, D.G. & Goldstein, M. Rites of passage as a framework for community interventions with youth. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice Vol. 1 (2), (2010). Online: http://www.gjcpp.org/en/article.php?issue=3&article=10
[xi] Blumenkrantz, D.G. Rites of passage: Pathways to spirituality for adolescents. Search Institute: The Center for Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence, (2007)
Blumenkrantz, D.G. & Hong, K. L., Coming of age and awakening to spiritual consciousness through rites of passage. New Directions for Youth Development Summer (2008).
Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities. Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing reported, “Light, bearing on the starboard bow.” “Is it steady or moving astern?” the captain called out. The lookout replied, “Steady, Captain,” which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.
The captain then called to the signalman, “Signal that ship: ‘We are on a collision course, advise you change course twenty degrees.’“ Back came the signal, “Advisable for you to change course twenty degrees.” The captain said, “Send: “I’m a captain, change course twenty degrees.’“
The caption said, “send: “I’m a captain. Change code twenty degrees.'”
“I’m a seaman second-class,” came the reply. “You had better change course twenty degrees.” By that time the captain was furious. He spat out, “Send: ‘I’m a battleship. Change course twenty degrees.’” Back came the flashing light, “I’m a lighthouse.”
We changed course.
We can be blinded by the way we view the world that could keep us from setting the rite course to educate and help our children come of age. Youth & community development through rites of passage provide clear navigational aids to guide our community’s education and youth development efforts.