From Boys to Men

Rites of Passage

Throughout 2019, our Year 9 students have been privileged to attend workshops run by the Rites of Passage Institute. These workshops have been deliberately designed around our campus themes; Identity, Stewardship, Futures and Legacy — themes we believe are incredibly important at Year 9 as we support students in their transition from boys to young men. 

These workshops have provided Year 9 students with a vehicle to open up about issues that are important to them and connect with families, friends and community who can provide vital support in these formative years.

De La Salle College has been fortunate to have the Rites of Passage Institute lead two successful evenings in the Year 9 calendar. The Institute was founded by Arne Rubinstein, an expert in adolescent development who has personally overseen our events. The programs, seminars and workshops have been attended by well over 100,000 people globally and were well received by our parents and students. 

I am the father of two beautiful, young, mischievous boys — Billy, 5 and Lenny, 3. They are at an age where they are still, universally referred to as beautiful… just. 

I am a proud Dad but hardly positioned to give adolescent-parenting advice. I’m struggling enough with the patience required and anxieties associated with toilet training! However, if you are seeking advice, in Arne’s book The Making of Men”, he writes that one of the most important things you can teach your son is that privileges come with responsibilities. Whilst parents should decide what is fair and reasonable for sons my Billy and Lenny’s age, wherever possible, adolescent men must be involved in the decision-making process. 

As your son grows older these decisions will become more serious. Borrowing your car when he gets his licence, for example. Again, as the privilege increases so too should the responsibility. When they are made to feel like they are owning the decision process within a framework they have helped construct, this empowers young men.

Relationships with your son will invariably change as he grows older. In some cases, it may appear to happen overnight. Research suggests that maintaining a relationship with your son through his early teens will be the most challenging. Gradually giving more responsibility to your son is an important part of transitioning to adulthood. Done constructively, it will also go a long way to strengthening your relationship with him.

We all have much to learn and understand about relationships and the complex dynamic that exists between young men and their communities; but what we do know is that there is infinite power in a listening ear, a robust conversation and the sharing of responsibility.

Mr David Alexander
Head of Year 9 Campus

Back to The Duce Issue 2019 14 - 17 October 2019