You may not know it, but there are lots of different types of coming-of- age events or rites of passages from around the world. Some examples are Maasai tribesmen in Africa going out and killing a lion (they don’t exactly do that anymore, but you get the idea). On the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific near Australia, they make kids jump from a high tower with a vine tied to their ankle that will (supposedly) stop them right before they hit the ground. In the Amazon there’s a tribe that makes a kid wear gloves filled with stinging bullet ants.
The good news is for your coming-of- age rite of passage, you probably won’t have to do anything that’s even remotely that difficult or painful!
But why do these cultures do these events, and why should you have one too? Well, societies in all corners of the world have created rituals to mark that time of life when a kid starts to turn the corner and head toward becoming an adult. All of these different cultures put a lot of thought and energy into designing and holding these events to help their kids understand and embrace their new place in society as emerging adults. They obviously felt this moment in life was worth marking, and they continued to do it because of how impactful it was for their kids.
So even though you may not personally know all that many kids in America who have experienced such an event (we’re working to fix that), millions and millions of kids throughout human history have gone through something similar, so you’re not alone!
When you think about those kids around the world, they probably were pretty nervous when their event was coming up. But they were probably excited too because they had seen so many other kids go through it, succeed, and reach a new status in their community.
Just like you, all of these kids probably had a ton of questions about what it means to be an adult. Questions like: What is expected of me to show I’m ready for adult responsibilities and privileges? Are there things I need to know/do/demonstrate to be accepted into this adult world? Is there a special handshake? Do I have to wear boring clothes and listen to boring music like my parents? The coming-of- age event is designed to answer any questions you have.
Basically, your coming-of- age event will consist of just two main parts. The first will be a set of fun and interesting challenges and activities that will help reinforce the most important lessons you need to learn for your journey into adulthood. The second part of your coming-of- age event will be that all of the most important adults in your life will come together to share nuggets of wisdom and advice with you – the things they wish they knew when they were your age that they learned through life experience. (They probably had to learn those things the hard way, but you get that wisdom free of charge as part of this event. Lucky you!)
You’ll have to ask the organizer of your event to get a more detailed picture since each Marca Via coming-of- age event is customized, like yours will be. Generally speaking, what is going to happen is that a team of the important adults in your life will form your “Marca Via team.”
They’re going to think about the most important things you should learn in order to be a successful, healthy adult. Those things might be character traits like courage, honesty, compassion, grit, resourcefulness, and so on. They also might be tests of specific skills like wilderness survival techniques, navigating public transit in a big city, or changing a flat tire on a car – whatever your team thinks is important for you to know. They’ll get creative about how to set up a challenge to reinforce those lessons. They’ll also think about what wisdom they want to share with you – the things they wish they had known at your age.
That’s it. (Oh, besides the fact that it’s also really fun, meaningful and will generate some great photos and videos you can use to make your friends jealous.)
Based on the experience of other kids, your coming-of- age event will be one of the most important highlights in your life to date.