The second volume of Jacobs’s Rite of Passage opens with our main character and narrator, Jacob Pete Manor, entering into adolescence. He has just celebrated his 13th birthday and has now officially acquired “teenager” status.
Jacob is still under the guidance and rearing of his mentor and brother, Gary, affectionately known as “Big Brother.” Though Jacob had knowledge of the things in the world that exceeded other boys his age, he still lacked the maturity required to navigate through the experiences that he will now face, as he embarks upon this next life segment.
Brother, now 17 years of age, is faced with making some future-impacting life decisions that will separate him from his protégé. Jacob then is left to his own counsel and the external influences who share no vested interest in his well being.
With or without a structured, formal, supervised Rite of Passage, by default, one will occur. As we continue with Jacob on his life journey of discovery, let us adjust our lenses to peer through the pages that reflect upon the unique set of life trials, situations and circumstances that accompany this new phase of his life.
Jacob’s adolescent status would have qualified him as a candidate for the African tradition known as the Rite of Passage. His parents and community would have shared the responsibility of ensuring his inception into this change process, focused solely on preparing and equipping him for the longest chapter of life – adulthood. Not that we practice the rituals and ceremonies of the Rite of Passage, but from it we can draw godly parallels.
This change process was comprised of three stages: (1) separation, (2) transition and (3) incorporation. What a difference it would have made for Jacob to have been taken in under the wings of his elders and other members of his village [community] and properly mentored, guided and instructed. A healthy mix of principle-based training lessons and a display of successful life examples would have provided a sound platform for his shaping and development. The controlled environment would have served as a safety net and protected him while he grew and matured into a whole, healthy adult.