Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Saturday, January 04, 2014

ritual

A friend of ours, Tom,  passed away just before Christmas, and we went to his memorial service yesterday.  He was a Korean War veteran, and his coffin was draped with an American flag.  At the end of the service, representatives of the National Guard removed the flag, folded it, and presented it to one of Tom's close friends since Tom's closest relation was a sister in Michigan.  Tom's friends became his family out here, and have handled everything.  Tom was a fine, kind gentleman and will be missed.

The folding of the flag fascinated me.  Meticulous, precise, choreographed movements for every step of the process, from lifting the flag off the coffin to presenting it to the friend.  There is something about ritual and ceremony that helps us through transitions.  I think we need to develop some new ceremonies - especially for adolescents.  The "Car-mitzvah" at age 16 when you get your driver's license isn't really enough. And the hispanic quincenera is just for girls.  Friends had their sons mark the thirteenth birthday by sleeping outside overnight in a shelter the son had constructed himself.  I really like that idea.  Maybe not such a good idea in Minnesota in December,  but something like it maybe.  What would make a good "Coming of age" ceremony?   Or maybe a series of ceremonies: entering adolescence, (When we warn the neighborhood by staining a big red letter A on the kid's foreheads) "turning fifteen - the danger year," And "Reaching 21- taking charge of your own life" when everyone helps the kid move into the independent living of his or her choice.  With vows.  "I am now a grown-up.  I alone am responsible for the consequences of my actions.  At last I can do what I want!"  (and all the adults laugh their butts off.)

6 Comments:

  • At 8:54 AM , Blogger Timothy Young said...

    I agree, the coming of age ceremony should be a marker for our young people, and entertainment for the elders. See Robert Bly.

     
  • At 12:11 PM , Blogger Rose L said...

    LOL I do like the idea of the speech
    starting with: " "I am now a grown-up. I alone am responsible for the consequences of my actions."
    I think adding something like-I alone will be making my decision, good or bad, so I alone must face any consequences or rewards for any actions. There will be no pointing of fingers or blaming on anyone else.

    Just saying...

     
  • At 4:33 PM , OpenID heideho said...

    So sorry to hear about Tom. Getting a driver's license or car at 16 is too classist. In Washington you MUST take a driver's ed. course prior to getting a license and the prices range from $350 to $500, just for the license. Heck, kids can't even get a job in lots of places until they turn 18. My point is, I have no idea what could be celebrated because some of the common milestones from the past aren't as relevant, at least until later, as they used to be. I do think marking individuals in the throes of puberty is a fabulous idea though!

     
  • At 9:43 AM , Blogger Amy Lane said...

    I'm so sorry to hear about Tom-- and yes. I agree. We need more concrete adult rituals. Like you said, an acknowledgement of grown-up-ti-tude.

     
  • At 12:29 PM , Anonymous benita said...

    The biggest thing I remember about being on my own was thinking I could stay up as late as I wanted - and I still go to bed with the chickens to this day. So much for being a grown-up. :)

     
  • At 11:50 AM , Anonymous tlbw said...

    We have done two quinceanera -type observances for young Latino men. Things may be changing (slowly) within that community.

     

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