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Praise for From Boys to Men!

From Boys to Men is a crucial read for parents, teachers, grandparents, and everyone who makes policies about young men. Bret Stephenson, a noted authority in adolescent male development, begins his exciting book by explaining how our cultural erasure of an organized and ritualized male adolescence has done great harm to our children. Then he re-invents rites of passage and the rituals of male adolescence to fit our contemporary age. Stephenson is masterful in his presentation of how to help boys "slay the dragon" and thus find a contributive, healthy and successful manhood. I highly recommend this book!"

"[From Boys to Men] builds a much needed bridge between contemporary knowledge and the wisdom of indigenous elders. By utilizing tools that are familiar to the western experience and infusing them with ancestral spiritual wisdom you are inviting people to traverse the distance from the limitations of the known to the vast resources of the unknown."
--Malidoma Somé, Author OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT-Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an
African Shaman; RITUAL: Power, Healing, and Community, and THE HEALING WISDOM OF AFRICA: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community

"Bret Stephenson takes a hard look at how we are raising boys and explores
how ancient wisdom and traditional practices can be used to help adolescent
males become healthy young men and active members of the community."

Aaron Kipnis--Author of Angry Young Men; Knights Without Armor; Gender War-Gender Peace

“A brilliant and practical resource and guide for stewarding adolescent boys into responsible leadership
and manhood…a must for parents, teachers, leaders, and managers.”

--Angeles Arrien, Cultural Anthropologist, Author of THE FOUR-FOLD WAY and SIGNS OF LIFE

"Society needs to know these ideas and practices."
Ralph Metzner--Author of Maps of Consciousness, The Well of Remembrance, The Unfolding Self...

"This book fills an important psychological and mythological need of our time. Parents, Counselors and Educators could all profit by its commonsense and timeless wisdom. Stephenson takes the reader through this zone with expertise, compassion and some darned good storytelling!"
--Stephen Larsen, Ph.D. and Robin Larsen Ph.D
(Stephen Larsen is Professor Emeritus of Psychology (SUNY) and the author of THE SHAMAN'S DOORWAY and THE MYTHIC IMAGINATION, and with Robin, A FIRE IN THE MIND: THE LIFE OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL-THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY, and THE FASHIONING OF ANGELS, PARTNERSHIP AS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE. The Larsens co-direct the Center for Symbolic Studies, a 501 (c) (3) that works with Youth at Risk, as well as many educational programs for young artists, dancers and athletes.
(For full quote and book Preface, click here)

The issue of our neglected, abused, and misunderstood teenager is a major social issue as critical as any today and grievously ignored. Bret Stephenson makes a valuable contribution toward addressing this neglect. He offers a splendid and practical therapeutic approach societies have used for ages. An integral part of a young man's growth, rites of passage wisely targeted a developmental period which new research shows is as critical to ongoing development of intelligence as early infancy and childhood. From Boys to Men takes this ancient wisdom and updates it as fitting to our times and temperament. If the vast sums currently spent on trying to keep teenagers in a failed and punishing school system were spent on projects such as this, a major step toward social health would unfold. Stephenson deserves all the support we can give him. Buy his book, put it to use and spread the word.
--Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of Magical Child, The Biology of Transcendence, and From Magical Child to Magical Teen: A Guide to Adolescent Development

Stephenson, a counselor for at-risk teens, offers a thought-provoking look at the demise of adolescent initiation rites into manhood, the longevity of adolescence among contemporary American teens, and a lack of "appropriate risks" available to boys. He makes a compelling argument to retrieve ancient and time-tested rites of passage (like Vision Quests) in the service of Joseph Campbell's three basic transition steps into adulthood: a boy's separation from a community, initiation through ritual, and a subsequent return into the embrace of that same community—but as a man. For a rite to be "truly transformative," writes Stephenson, "the risk or challenge in an initiation must be experienced as powerful enough to create an ego death, to "kill" the boy so the man can be born," and often includes the "goal of getting exhausted and experiencing altered consciousness" and even a literal wounding of the body. Stephenson is aware that he presents what may seem a bitter pill to swallow, but he offers practical models, methods, and activities for changing problematic behavior that draw on a wide range of transition rites that he has recreated for the modern teenage boy. A broad audience will find this a fascinating and hopeful glimpse into the contemporary struggles of American boyhood. (Dec.)
--Religion Bookline (Publisher's Weekly Oct. 25, 2006)

“Why does America insist on pumping billions of dollars into models for helping young men make the transition to adulthood? Stephenson says we have ignored the lessons of our many ancestors, who devised a strategy for that rite of passage and stuck with it. The author pieces together a wealth of information on ancient ritual and how corporate America has led the charge to abandon those rituals”
--YOUTH TODAY: The Newspaper on Youth Work (Oct. 2004)











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