Cultures traditionally have rites of passage marking progression from child to adult
|"Other cultures make a clear delineation between childhood and adulthood; there are rites of passages and initiation ceremonies to mark these transitions. People expect and are willing to expose young people to hardship and pain, because it helps them grow." Author: Jeff Goins
Most societies have rites of passage marking the transition from childhood to adulthood and full participation within the community, tribe, or nation. Until recently the United States, serving in the military, Peace Corps or other service organizations provided that rite of passage with military service being the most common avenue.
Our self-indulgent society, however, no longer has a rite of passage. Not only is the military not seen by most as an attractive option, but about 70% of military age persons are disqualified from service because of health (obesity), criminal record, drug abuse, and lack of education.
That ineligible 70% will one be the drain on our societies resources. How do we as a nation reverse this trend? When did we become a nation that needs to establish 'safe places" to protect the fragile feelings of our citizens?
Is mandatory service the answer? One can argue for either side. Mandatory service requires investment in goals of the greater good, or it forces the unwilling to participate in service with lackluster results. As a former military officer, I would not want the unwilling and incapable serving with me. As a nation, we need to open dialogue to come up with ways to bring back rites of passage.