II. D (1339/1000 wds). The Ritual during the 1st yrs
Education and advocacy during the first years of Phase II of this project will likely have had to deal with the difficulties of changing situations, and multiple iterations of different versions of this ritual in each community. Trial and error, in creating something new, is normal, and a certain amount of ambiguity must be tolerated, at least at first. Communities should first decide why they want to take on the challenge of designing and testing candidates for a new rite of passage, and what they need and expect from those who pass their requirements, and become recognized asAdults within their communities. What any given community needs from the Adults in its midst will be driven by the needs of that community, and should thus lead directly to the requirements that community sets for their version of the Adulthood Challenge, and for the rite of passage ritual in that community. The needs of the community can also be determining factors in who that community will consider, publicly and transparently, as acceptable candidates for adulthood recognition, or for trying The Challenge, within that community. Clearly, since the needs of every community change over time, as circumstances and times change, the requirements, and what a given community will need and want from its Adults, likewise, will change with time and growth. Thus every community may find that certain requirements, or candidates who meet certain types of requirements, may be more suitable for their communities. This can be a reasonable thing, as long as it is all done with full transparency and justification both within and outside of that particular community.
The ritual itself, obviously, will probably be considered the cornerstone of this new modern rite of passage, even if it is merely the showcase, or ceremony, for the result of more than a year’s worth of work, risk, and problem-solving. The key part of the ritual, as seen from the end goal’s point of view for this rite of passage, is likely to be the person who was taught the difficult but needed life skill by the candidate. The specific ritual, ceremony, or marker of having passed all of the requirements set by the community in question, must be designed by each particular community based on its own needs and traditions. The sets of measurement tools, and the milestones for the early stages of this Phase of our project must take into account the fact that these rituals should grow from small but still public events, to larger, but also public events, never private. Even the 1-1 tutoring, the private teaching, or Each One Teach One work, which can scale up from groups of 2 people at a time to large groups, must remain safely transparent. One on one tutoring can be shown in some form during the ritual, if communities wish to see some demonstrable token of how the work was accomplished, for example. Private teaching techniques, like using the outdoors, or a restaurant setting, to help the learner make the needed real work connections to the material being learned, as with a new language, for instance, can be partly replicated during the ritual, if communities desire to do so. This may also facilitate scaling up some of the new ideas and tools developed by candidates during their problem-solving time, for use by the larger community and public. Each One Teach One day in the park, for instance, can come out of such a ritual, and be adapted for libraries and schools, eventually, even becoming E1T1 groups. Such ideas that begin very small, as part of on candidate’s means of solving a teaching problem for one person can then grow, as with E1T1 community celebrations, or month long events, for example. Thus, the ritual marking the completion of this new rite of passage can also be used not only to measure the number of Adults recognized, but also to pass on new ideas and tools to be adapted by the larger public.
The tools and 1-minute activities of earlier years can also, in Phase II, be adapted and used to aid in designing and promoting the ritual completion of this new modern rite of passage, thus preventing stagnation of tool development, and also preventing the rite of passage from eventually stagnating and falling into obsolescence, itself. First conceived around 2011, the Teaching Terror ritual, a modern adulthood rite of passage for our time, was imagined as a way both to teach a difficult, significant, absolutely needed life skill to someone as a way of proving one’s persistence, complex thinking, and problem solving skills, and also as a way to show others just how difficult teaching really is. That idea, it seems, ten years on, has partly fallen into obsolescence itself. It is now being updated with the intention that every community should adapt this idea to create a ritual for completing the rite of passage that fits the needs of the community and those near it, either geographically or ideologically. The crucial point is that the requirements for passing this test must be difficult: sufficiently difficult that the candidate, upon succeeding, both knows that the test has been passed, and feels a valid sense of accomplishment upon completing this difficult set of tasks. In other words, of having proved oneself worthy of that recognition which will follow. But it is not enough merely to accomplish a difficult thing: that thing must be useful in a very practical way both for the candidate and for the community in which the candidate will become anAdult, if recognized as having passed the requirements. The accomplishment of something difficult, useful, and significant for all parties involved means that the set of tasks assigned to the candidate must accomplish something needed on both an individual and community level, and the tools for doing this will need continuous updating.
The usefulness of the tools and activities being developed during this early period of Phase II hinges upon their ability to be both useful and inspiring, serving the practical needs of all parties, while also showing the symbolic connection and importance of the greater community, via the deeper level of the activity. The tools should also give all candidates the opportunity, as pointed out back in Ch 3, to prove their self-discipline as part of the Adulthood Challenge, always, of course, in an uplifting rather than down-putting fashion, as has been the case in many modern rites of passage involving hazing, such as Rush, pledging, Hell Week at VMI or the last week of Plebe Summer at most service academies, cutting off the T-shirt when student pilots solo, and many other often humiliating traditions in many organizations. Any set of tasks requiring cooperation, critical thinking, long term planning, and applied personal and social empathy can form the basis for a useful set of requirements, it seems. But they must also involve deep personal challenge in a useful way, and daring, not merely for the sake of audacity, but to develop the habit of doing the right and needed but difficult thing, even in spite of one’s fear. They must show perseverance and risk taking skills, in order to demonstrate the ability to keep at difficult tasks and do what may not work, but has a good chance of working and helping for the greater good. And above all, these tools must show how empathy, both for ‘me and mine’ as well as for persons not part of any of the candidate’s own in-groups, thus both personal empathy and social empathy, forms a deep part of each and every candidate’s character, and give candidates the opportunity to show that empathy in action in meaningful ways for themselves and for the community. Finally, these tools must help candidates demonstrate their courage, but in the context of a modern set of needed skills that will help both the community and all of humanity to move forward.