Rites of passage have been common throughout civilization. Not so much anymore; kids just seem to grow up and end up where ever the chips fall.
A rite of passage should be good for the person and the community too. It should inspire the person to take responsibility for decisions to come, and it should empower and illustrate to the youngster they do indeed belong to the community. For the community, it establishes a level of trust in the individual and proves they have assimilated to the culture. Young men and women need to know how to ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth. A community full of those, who can and do, is better off for it.
Parents can teach these skills but sometimes farming out the work is a good idea. Before he moved to Kodiak, Alaska, the great horse trainer Johnny Walker taught my son Bat to ride. Gunsite instructor Il Ling New continued the firearms education I started. And, I’ve been working on the truth-telling for 16 years. Now, at 16, Bat is driving, girls are chasing, and he has a job. He is on the cusp of independence. It is time.
In two weeks Bat will take the 250 Pistol Course at Gunsite Academy. He will leave there able to shoot a handgun better than most of the police officers in the United States. He will have the confidence to know he can protect himself and his family. He will realize that he alone is responsible for his safety.
It is in a way a right of passage. One that I expect all my kids to complete and maybe one that all kids should complete before stepping into adulthood.
Nighthawk Custom Firearms was kind enough to loan Bat the use of one of their new custom Browning HiPowers for his 250 class. This means he has no excuse for poor performance; he’ll likely be the best-armed student in the course.
I think Nighthawk should sponsor a scholarship for a young man or woman to do the same every year! I can think of no better way for Nighthawk to give back.