Schoolies can be a very well deserved celebration at its best, and at its worst it can be a week long, peer driven rampage. Sometimes schoolies is referred to as a Rite of Passage, it is not a Rite of Passage and it will never be a Rite of Passage because children cannot initiate children into adulthood, they can only initiate themselves deeper into childishness.

In the absence of any culturally significant markers for growing up, Schoolies has become an attempt by many young people at self initiation. Cutting, gangs, unsafe sex, fighting, drug taking, binge drinking, driving too fast, piercing, and more piercing are all forms of self initiation.

Unfortunately, acts of self initiation often wound rather than grow a person. They are not designed to add the amazing fire of youth to the hearth of community. The intent of self initiation is often to piss on the community fire before taking as much wood as possible to start a different and better fire somewhere else.

Self initiation is a biologically induced, hormone fueled attempt to seek acknowledgement of the recently added “adult” body mass whilst simultaneously rejecting anyone with the wisdom and ability to bestow the gift of acknowledgement that is desperately yearned for. No matter how risky the act, it will never satisfy the hidden hunger for acknowledgement, for the honouring of a young man by men or of a young woman by women thus leaving a psychological hole.

Self initiation cannot install the new “adult” emotional operating system that is optimized to run the larger, more powerful and vibrant young adult body. The adult behaviour execution file does not auto install and can lie dormant for decades. An effective and timely install requires a carefully planned and lovingly executed ritual to mark the transition from child to young adult, a contemporary, community based Rite of Passage. Perhaps as the supposed ‘adults’ of our society we could start setting a better example for our young people. They are  often fantastic and sometimes uncomfortable mirrors of us. Helping them to grow up can help us grow up too.

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