rites of passage: are riches ruining these rituals?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 28, 2008 by elaine2008

Adolescence is an exciting chapter in life. It is full of uncertainty and excitement. The word adolescence is derived from the Latin word “adolescere” which means to grow into adult hood. Various psychological, social and physiological changes are occurring in the stage of adolescence to make the growth into adulthood successful. Although some cultures do not fully engage in a period of adolescence every culture has a way of marking the changes of youthful citizens, and ultimately the final transition into adulthood. These practices are called rites of passage, and they are universal. However there are major differences in the implementation of how these Rites are conducted across all cultures and races.

In a 2006-2007 study conducted by the Federal Reserve it was found that the median American household debt was $43,000. This is only one piece of evidence that implies that Americans tend to spend more money than they make. With this inclination of overspending it is not presumptuous to postulate that Americans will spend more than they can afford on rites of passages, such as graduation celebrations, sweet sixteen parties, automobiles, and sadly even plastic surgery. This can potentially have a psychological effect on today’s youth causing them to put too much emphasis on material possessions, and the false expectation that things will be just be handed to them. I am not indicating that rites of passages should be abolished but when taken to the extreme the point of these ceremonies can become overshadowed by the desire to “show up” other families. If this continues to be the case, the whole process of making a healthy transition into adulthood will be founded on greed and the need to acquire more. These ideals may resurface later in the adolescence life, which may possibly explain the massive amount of debt America is in.

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