Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Rites of Passage for Your Sons: Rustic Camping

This past weekend, I took my two sons, ages nine and six, camping at a rustic campsite in California's Colorado Desert. Even though we spent three years traveling the United States in an RV, we did very little rustic camping. Taking them out to the wilderness in the middle of BFE was the perfect rationale to introduce them to a host of "man skills."

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A major motivator for the trip was to begin creating rites of passage than my sons could experience as they approach puberty. Our society has mostly abandoned the idea of rites of passage, which results in a sort of perpetual childhood/ adolescence that seemingly lasts until men reach their med-thirties. We love our children, but we don't want them to be helpless freeloaders for decades.

This is the surrounding area:

Looking out over nothingness

Our "campsite" from afar

Once there, we did typical rustic camping shit. We set up the tent, scavenged some random materials to make a stove, built a fire, cooked lunch and dinner, did a little hiking, and busted out the BB gun.

Learning the art of fire maintenance

Sunrise in the desert

Southpaw marksman in the making

Boulder parkour?

The trip was a resounding success despite the cold and rock-hard ground (forgot any sort of padding.) My long-term goal is to continue trips like this and use them as an opportunity to teach as many "man skills" as I can teach the boys.

Eventually, for the actual rite of passage, I'll devise a series of tests that will reflect the skills I'm teaching them. 

What about you? Did your father have any rites of passage you experienced? Do you do anything like this for your own sons?

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