There are often many ways that we celebrate the arrival of womanhood for our daughters. It can be more difficult however, to find the right ritual for our sons. Here are some ways to make a meaningful celebration of our boys turning into men.
First off, let me say, as the mother to 4 sons, I am steeped in boyness. Even our animals are male. I live and breathe boys. I love their energy, spirit and straightforward way of expression. I think this qualifies me enough to explain a celebration for a 13 year old boy.
This will not be an overtly emotional event. Boys this age may be comfortable feeling loved but a lot of tears may make them feel overwhelmed. If you feel unable to present anything or say something to him without that level of emotion, it may be best if you do so in a more private moment and save the larger ritual for a smile and something meaningful but light.
Think of words that describe your son now, is he studious? How about scientific? Does he crave attention or silence? How does he view being a man? Oftentimes, boys desperately want to be seen as men and yet their ideas of what a man IS, can be skewed. It is a good time to talk with him about what he thinks it means to become an adult. It can be shocking if you have never actually come right out and asked.
How do you want him to see himself? How does becoming a young adult change your relationship with him? Do you have any expectations that he needs to know about? I do not mean more chores and responsibilities but deeper communications and allowing him a bit more trust in judgment. You are not letting your child go; only letting him spread his wings a little. Although it is important for him to feel more mature, it is now more important than ever to have him feel supported by his family and cared for by his parent(s) or trusted adults in his life.
Some ideas for a coming of age ritual for a young man might be:
A wearable item- such as a necklace or bracelet with a meaningful item on it. My son is particularly interested in the Green Man so I found a leather bracelet with a silver clasp and a Green Man token to add to it. He says it reminds him of the connection to the wild part of the earth.
A small token like a stone, small carving or other item that he can carry in his pocket- You may want to paint/carve a Rune on it so he can feel it while he carries it around with him.
A good book- Look for authors who focus on the strengths of becoming a responsible, spiritual being, not necessarily on any particular path.
A simple letter to him- Put into words what you are feeling, some memories of him as a young boy and especially some changes you have seen in him that show you how ready he is to become a young man. My son refers to his letter when he feels down about something and says it makes him feel better.
I hope some of these ideas stimulate even more ideas for you. Include your sons in the organizing of their special day and know that it is such a powerful celebration. Your sons will thank you for it.