One of the many reasons why young men join the military is probably because there are very few coming of age rituals. Looking around the US there are very cultures that have active coming of age rituals. The biggest group that stands out would be the Jewish tradition of Bar (Bat) Mitzvah. I am sure there are other groups out there but this tradition stands out to me. This tradition is one where a young man is accepted as a man within the Jewish community. His opinion means something and also the other Jews give him presents that will help him reach his goals. In most of the rest of the US society we do not really have such traditions. One could argue that graduation from High School is one such tradition and it is an achievement but it is not one that is a coming of age. Why is it that the rest of society does not have these type of traditions. Also would it help to have these kind of traditions?
Being a teenager or in your early twenties in many ways is a weird place to be. You are not an adult in the sense that you are treated as one, however you are also not a child. As an 18 year old you can get married, enter into legal contracts and the list goes on. However if you are in college you are still treated as a child. If one joins the military you can also have the opportunity to carry a fully automatic weapon or operate very heavy weaponry and million dollar computer systems. But yet if you step out of that role you are still stuck in between a boy and a man. This is where a coming of age ritual could make a big difference with young adults and help them mature quicker.
There are more institutions that actually have these kind of traditions, one of them being the order of the arrow with the boy scouts and becoming a communicate member of a church. (they are not the same) Each of these positions give standing and status to a young person in which they have responsibilities and privileges. It also allows a young person to fit in with a society of like minded individuals and possible mentors that can guide them into adulthood. What kind of coming of age rituals do you think are prevalent in our society and do you think that they can make a difference in a young persons life?
Bar Mitzvah: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_Mitzva
Son did you hurt yourself: https://libertariandad.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/son-did-you-hurt-yourself/
Your kids wont turn out the way you think they will: https://libertariandad.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/your-kids-wont-turn-out-the-way-you-think-they-will-guest-post/
How to deal with your children: https://libertariandad.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/breaking-the-cycle-how-to-deal-with-your-children/
The Rites of Manhood: http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/12/brett-and-kate-mckay/the-rites-of-manhood/