As I was surfing around looking for information on Pagan coming-of-age rituals, I started thinking about how important they are. And also how this idea has been lost in mainstream society.
The whole idea of being a ‘teenager’ has only been around for a couple of decades. In the past, you were a child up to a certain point, and then you were an adult. Pretty simple, and much easier to grasp your own place in the world as you were growing up. But things are different today, and not for the better, if you ask me.
Societal rules and laws have drawn out the transition between child and adult to span over many years, which strands teenagers in a difficult position between being children and being adults.
There is no set point in life where a child becomes an adult anymore (here in Canada, at least). You can get a driver’s license at 16, get married at 18, drink alcohol at 19, buy cigarettes at 21 and gamble at a casino at 25. Of course these numbers vary from place to place, and not all countries have the same system, but you see my point. Not only does this string of laws make it difficult to mark the move to adulthood, they don’t even make sense. It seems to me that they are putting the more dangerous threshold (driving a car) at the earliest age.
I think that having a clear line marking the division between child and adult would be beneficial to society as a whole, Pagan or not.
If you are raising your children along a Pagan path, you might want to consider a coming-of-age ritual to declare their growth into an adult. Even if your local laws do not coincide with the age you choose, at least your child will have established their new mature status within the family and your household.