Coming of age ceremony; 13th birthday

Our eldest son turned 13 recently and to mark the occasion we held a coming of age ceremony. We wanted to set this birthday apart as a symbol of stepping into manhood. While he is by no means fully a man, he is a young man and as such, this is an important occasion. Endless adolescence (often considered by our culture as a period of expected rebellion, irresponsibility and generally having a good time without any ties) is not something we want to encourage in our family. We want our children to use their young years (their youth) wisely and to grow in Godly character.

If you would like more information about coming of age ceremonies, check out another  post I have written, with book reviews and links to useful websites and this one for a girl’s version. Ours was a simple evening, with Fathers and sons invited for food (make your own stuffed potato bar), a campfire and some time set aside for the men to share letters of wisdom that we had asked them to bring along for our son to keep and learn from.

My husband had chosen bible readings and words of wisdom of his own to correspond with special gifts that we presented to mark the evening. These were a bible (true wisdom comes from God), a Leatherman (be prepared for the future that God has for you) and a survival knife (because it’s cool because you are dangerous now – your strength can be used to protect and serve, or to harm.)

Needless to say, he LOVED the knives, as did the other young men, but has also shown us that he has the responsibility to handle them appropriately. We still had an element of “just for fun” with the Millennium Falcon landing on his Planet 13 cake (warning: uncharted territory ahead) and the ice-cream Sundae bar for dessert, as well as plenty of time just to hang out and enjoy his mates. While we could have gone all out, we chose to keep it simple, knowing that we have 6 more children coming along behind him who we will also be celebrating this milestone with.

If you have any wonderful ideas for blessing ceremonies or the like, I’d love to hear them.






Raising a Modern Day Knight/Princess

Raising a Modern Day Knight: A Father's Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood

Do you have a son on the verge of manhood? A daughter about to become a woman? Do they know what it means to be a man or woman in today’s society? When exactly do they become a man or woman and what marks this transition?

Robert Lewis, in his book “Raising a Modern Day Knight” identifies three key areas that are vital in this process of becoming a man; a biblically grounded definition of manhood, a directional process to help him get there and ceremonies to celebrate and commemorate important transitional points in a young man’s life.

Along with the role of the community and the church, Lewis emphasises the importance of parents who are actively involved in their children’s lives, fully present and doing all they can to provide excellent role models. He outlines 4 principles of manhood that form the cornerstones of the foundation of authentic manhood and presents ideas for a code of conduct; ethical standards from the moral law of God to guide our sons on their path to manhood.

The second half of the book is devoted to developing ceremonies to mark important transitional points throughout a young man’s life. He emphasises the incredible impact these ceremonies have and gives some excellent ideas for developing symbols and ceremonies of your own, the first of which is generally around the age of 13.

Raising a Modern-Day Princess

Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna have written a similar book for girls titled “Raising a Modern Day Princess” with ideas for creating a rite of passage experience to celebrate a young lady’s cross-over into womanhood. They aim to help girls see themselves as daughters of a heavenly Father (their King) and true modern-day princesses.

They discuss the importance of the Father’s role in their daughter’s lives and the opportunity Mothers have to act as mentors in the lives of our own daughters and other young ladies.

Jewish girls celebrate a bat mitzvah, Latinos a Quinceanera, Navajo girls go through a Kinaalda ceremony and American teenage girls may be involved in a Debutante or Purity ball. The authors offer some ideas for creating your own Modern Day Princess ceremonies (that may or may not include purity rings and other symbols of purity) and implementing traditions that could be passed down for generations. These ceremonies may include blessings, special gifts, feasts and outings and can take on many different forms to suit your family.

I would highly recommend both of these books. Young men are well covered in Robert Lewis’ book, however if you only have a girl I would recommend reading both. The ideas for boys gave me a great springboard for coming up with rites of passage ceremonies for my girls, with a different approach than I would otherwise have taken. (I did always think Boy Scout camps were way better than Girl Guide camps though!)

However you do it, please take the time to plan ahead so that you don’t miss these important milestones in your child’s life. They will be 13 before you know it and these ideas take time, planning and financial investment. I am excited to think about what we can put together for our own children and hope that these traditions will be one more building block that knits our family together and helps us to raise children who stand strong in their faith as they grow into Godly adults.

Other Resources:

“The Hope Chest; A Legacy of Love” by Rebekah Wilson is a book I haven’t read thoroughly yet, but comes recommended by a good friend of mine. As the name implies, it explains what a hope chest is and how they may be used. They could be readily included as part of a rite of passage ceremony.

Unfading beauty reading for  womanhood ceremony.

Fantastic blog account of an amazing manhood ceremony physical challenge that a Father and son completed. 12 stones with character qualities, mountain climbing, ring ideas.. I loved this.

A blessing example.

One family’s example of manhood ceremony scriptures and symbols.

I’ll be blogging next about a young lady’s rite of passage 13th birthday that I had the privilege of attending last weekend with a Proverbs 31 theme. Stay tuned!