Boys' Rites of Passage

Our Sons' Futures

What Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self?

Posted by Thomas on April 8, 2012

This post has 218 words and will take you less than 3 ½ minutes to read.

In the latest issue of O Magazine (May 2012) I was inspired by a segment called The Enlightenment of Age. The task: write a letter of advice to your younger self (e.g. the 25-year-old you). All entries were noteworthy, but Michael J. Fox’s contribution resonated with me the most. Enjoy the read below. Here is my challenge to you, sit down, give it some thought, and do the same. Write a letter to your younger self, age 20. What advice about life and living would you give the 20-year-old you? (This should be interesting.)

Dear Michael,

When the time comes to chase your dreams, and it will, they may seem elusive; but know you won’t catch them all at once. Just one challenge at a time.

When success comes, and it will, don’t gobble it up—savor and share it and it will last.

When love comes, and it will, don’t bury it in expectation and projection—be prepared to fall in love all over again every day.

When the unexpected and inconceivable intrudes on life, and it will, deal with life’s actual events—don’t obsess about perceived eventualities.

Relax—enjoy the ride.

(Author attribution: Michael J. Fox, 50, actor and activist. As printed in May 2012 edition of O Magazine, page 178)



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The Rites of Passage Program and Life Preparation

Posted by Thomas on February 22, 2012

This post has 347 words and will take you less than an estimated 5 minutes to read.

I am at a life stage of transformation. A huge part of me wants to be better. I have verbalized to those in my circle that I’m striving to be my best self. Some days I feel I hit the bull’s-eye, but most days I feel grossly inadequate.

From striving to achieve personal goals in my relationships to professional goals in my career and all points in between, I struggle to get to the next level. Self-development is hard work. Self-education is hard work. Staying motivated to keep on track is a daily challenge. And even more challenging is finding like-minded people who are making the same journey that are willing to motivate and hold me accountable in mine. I am ill-prepared for this stage of life and wonder if I’ll make it to the other side whole and thriving instead of merely surviving.

This transformation period makes me consider the rites of passage program for boys and the resources I’ve culled on this blog for parents, adults, mentors, and teachers. As we impact the lives of boys helping them to successfully enter responsible adulthood what other lessons do they need to learn from us—the caring adults in their lives? Should a rites of passage program contain a component on mid-life transformation? Should it discuss career changes? Should it walk young men through a process to discover their passion?

I feel if I had certain discussions as a young man and certain guidance, maybe my current transformation would not seem so weighty. But, who knows? There is no time machine to pop inside and see. The present is what we all have to work with. We must all forget about the past, not dwell on the future, and focus intentionally on the present. In preparing for life, whether teaching our sons or ourselves, not every nuance of our existence can be handled beforehand. The things we learn via our living offer the fuel for our living. If we are good students that are willing and eager to learn, what more can we ask of ourselves?


“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences,” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

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