Rites of passage are tricky things.
For the person going through the rite of passage, things are relatively clear. Once you do these things or reach a certain age or stage, you’ll be on the other side, starting fresh as a newly minted next-phaser. Take my son, for example. This weekend he becomes a Bar Mitzvah, which means that in the eyes of the Jewish people, he’s a man, responsible for his own actions and expected to follow laws — 613 of them to be exact.
That the Jewish people figure a kid entering the throes of puberty is at the right age to take on a boatload of responsibility is very intriguing to me. My son is the last of his friends to go through this ritual, and I always smile when I listen to the bar and bat mitzvah speeches when the kids talk about all the ways they will begin to prove that they’re ready to accept more responsibility for their own lives. These things normally include doing a better job cleaning their rooms, voluntarily doing other household chores, and being nicer to their siblings and more respectful to their parents.=