Saturday, February 13, 2010

enter the teen

ricky's rite of passage celebration

Thirteen years ago, Ricky, our first born, made Jennifer and me into parents. Our lives transformed instantly as we held a tiny precious human in our arms. February 10, 2010, thirteen years later, our lives continue to transform, and the tiny human is taller than Jennifer, and holds his own among my four brothers.

With four uncles, or titos in Tagalog, a rite of passage celebration was in order!

With other family members present, including Ricky's grandparents (lolo and lola), we celebrated his entering into young adulthood. It is a time when the child is in a new arc of development where his will forces begin to extend out to the world. He begins to realize his actions can influence his surroundings and he begins to attach a value to those actions. He becomes a global citizen. With guidance, so crucial to this stage of his life, he exerts his will forces towards positivity. He will challenge authority and established precepts, and it is through guidance that this energy becomes a constructive force in our ever-changing world.

In the Waldorf curriculum, the child of the upper grades is introduced to woodworking, physics, human anatomy and physiology, chemistry, history of world leaders and the Renaissance. All prepares the child to know himself, know the elemental world, and know human history. In this global scale does the child see the potentiality of his power.

In our initiation for Ricky, the struggle for power starts with an arm wrestle! I created some additional games: 1) a traditional duel, using tennis balls, counting off a few paces and throwing the ball at each other, 2) rolling a log up a hill, 3) nailing as many nails into a chunk of wood, 4) estimating lengths of cut branches, and 5) calculating areas of rectangles, triangles, and circles.
(I wanted to playfully balance the ideas of chivalry, strength, coordination, bravery, and intelligence, mixed with plenty of plain old male silliness - and Ricky and my brothers had fun!)

The celebration culminated in a ceremony where I had my brothers help me in presenting symbolic elements and reciting short passages for Ricky.

Wood represents growth and strength. Ricky, care for your physical self, for in health, will you make a positive impact in the world.

Fire represents power and love. Ricky, be courageous in following your heart, and be generous in loving from your heart.

Earth represents stability and justice. Ricky, hold your ground when you are standing with integrity and fairness.

Metal represents sharpness and wisdom. Ricky, hone a sharp mind to be an insightful and wise leader.

Water represents fluidity and freedom. Ricky, living under the sign of Aquarius, let your creativity flow to free your your spirit and inspire others.

A bit of percussive drumming from other family members, and we launched into spontaneous primitive chanting!

Ricky enjoyed it, judging by his smile, his thirteen year old spirit in his eyes.


cayswann said...

This is inspiring and amazing! Congrats to Ricky and the whole family. Kudos to all the titos and men, welcoming him to this rite of passage. -- Cat (from Coffee Bar of Splendoor)

Kelly said...

This is truly beautiful. What a welcome that will always remain with him and carry him through manhood. Best wishes to your Ricky.

Jen said...

Rick, you're such an amazing dad! Your sensitivity and awareness to such important connections between life and its impact is inspiring! Happy birthday to Ricky and congratulations to him and to you and Jennifer, for being such wonderful parents! Your games sounded fun and so symbolic. I love that your whole family was involved - truly a clan!

Jacqui said...

Best wishes to Ricky at this special time. What an inspiring and moving account of your family celebration. Thank you for sharing it with us.

onegoldensun said...

I love how you chose to honor your son's transition into young adulthood. The elements recitation is beautiful.