When Edric Mendoza’s eldest son turned 13 years old, he took him to a mountain climbing expedition. An education entrepreneur, registered financial planner, and father of five, Edric wanted to initiate a family tradition to help his child transition from boyhood to manhood.
He says, “Part of the family tradition I want to create in our family is a rite of passage. When my sons turn 13, they transition from being boys to young men. I have learned that most men embrace their manhood when their father affirms it.”
In the paper Rites of Passage During Adolescence published in The Forum for Family and Consumer Issues of the North Carolina State University, authors Scott D. Scheer, Stephen M. Gavazzi, and David G. Blumentkrantz, say, “Rites of passage are powerful social events that help guide and affirm a transition from one status in life to another. One of the most critical transitions is from adolescence to adulthood, where much hangs in the balance.”
Guidance is critical at this stage as youth will either progress into adulthood with life trajectories for success or difficulties.
For the rite of passage to have a lasting impact, however, the paper adds that it must be framed as events with special meaning for the adolescent.
Edric explains, “When you look at the Bible, the stage after boyhood is not the ‘teen years.’ There is actually no mention of this term there. Instead, they have to show greater responsibility for the choices they make in their lives starting at about 13. The Jewish tradition of bar mitzvah is a testament to this.”
A bar mitzvah is the religious initiation of a Jewish boy. When he reaches the age of 13, he is regarded as ready to observe religious precepts and eligible to take part in public worship.
Edric developed a different rite of passage for his son, but with the same purpose. He and his son climbed a mountain, and a tough one at that. The climb, he says, helped build manly character in his son. The experience itself brought to life the values that father and son already learned together.
“At the summit, we prayed together and I prayed for him. As we ended the climb, I had him read a letter I wrote to him, and letters from two men I respect: my father and father-in-law. This was where I formally charged him as being a young man, and the newfound responsibility of taking greater responsibility for his actions. If you ask him what he thought of it, he will say he loved it! It was definitely grueling, but worth it. He learned countless things. Thus for me, mission accomplished,” Edric says.
Good job, Daddy!