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!"
--Michael Gurian, Author of A FINE YOUNG
MAN, THE WONDER OF BOYS and THE WONDER OF GIRLS
"[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
--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
takes a hard look at how we are raising boys and explores
how ancient wisdom and traditional practices can be used to help
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
a must for parents, teachers, leaders, and managers.
--Angeles Arrien, Cultural Anthropologist,
Author of THE FOUR-FOLD WAY and SIGNS OF LIFE
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 communitybut 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.
--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)