Here we are paddling out to the island where my daughter finished her Rite of Passage with a 24hr solo.
I've been questioned many times on whether or not we should be doing a Rite of Passage for girls. Isn't it just for boys?
It is true that girls have something biological happen to them by which they know they are becoming a women and boys do not. However, the Rite of Passage was more than just her flowering. It was about leaving behind childhood and moving into the journey of adulthood. In other words, we are philosophically skipping the teenage, I-need-to-find-myself stage (which historically never existed). My daughter was a child. Now she has begun her journey as an adult.
Now this doesn't mean we kick her out of the house, and let her make all her decisions on her own. However, it does mean that she is granted more independence and more responsibility is expected of her.
So what did this Rite of Passage look like?
We it over a six month period and broke the program up into sections. The sections were dealing with growth in various areas of her life:
- Ongoing Obligations
- Spiritual Growth
- Skill Development
- Outdoor Survival Skills
1. Ongoing Obligations - in this section, she had to commit to daily journal writing, develop an exercise routine, and learn about nutrition and diet.
2. Spiritual Growth - here, she had a number of books to read and to discuss with her godparents and her parents. She started the journey to reading the Catholic Bible from cover to cover. She led in family prayers, developed a prayer life and spent time in weekly adoration and daily Holy Mass. The hardest part was the passages of Scripture that her Grandparents gave her to memorize and recite! We also had evening time where we learned apologetics - specifically how to defend the Catholic faith against Protestant heresies. This led us to many deep theological discussions and was very enjoyable.
3. Skill Development - My daughter spent time being mentored by some great women, including her Grandmothers. She learned some skills in sewing, cooking, dressing well, running a business, being a professional, and make-up. Further she had to learn how to cook four meals for the family and had to perform piano pieces.
4. Outdoor Skills - We didn't hit this as strong as would've like. However, she did complete a whitewater kayaking course, two overnight canoe trips, fire starting without a match and basic wilderness camping skills.
We finished off with a 24hr solo wherein she spent the night on an island by herself. She was so well prepared that the solo wasn't that difficult. Next time, I'll have to drop her off without a tent and matches and then see how she does!
Was it worth it?
Completely. The journey bound the three of us closer together. My daughter grew up these past six months. She was ready for the challenge and took it head on. We are so proud of her. She is at the place now where she is owning her education, owning her faith, owning her time and friendships and commitments. She is taking responsibility for her actions, her choices and her life.
Now - we start the journey again with my son!