I was recently asked to lead part of my cousin's secular Bar Mitzvah inspired coming-of-age ceremony. Would love recommendations for rituals, quotes, or wisdom to use here. I've really enjoyed the rituals I've seen come out of the rationalist community, and I'm curious if anyone has done or has any ideas for something that could be fun for a nerdy soon to be teenager. 

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An archetypical coming-of-age ceremony and rituals include dealing with a huge challenge and overcoming it. Frequently, challenges with the possibility of failure. Doing something like that in a secular setting isn't easy. After all, you don't have any tradition to advocate why the soon-to-be-adult should accept your hard challenge. 

When it comes to hard challenges that actually make sense in our society, one of the rationalist complaints is that a lot of children chose a path of going to university without really investigating what the resulting career paths actually look like.

One idea would be to have the soon-to-be-adult cold call / cold message a bunch of people in the career paths that they think of taking to gather information about the career path and then report on the results of those queries at the coming-of-age ceremony to the gathered audience. 

Anyone asked the kid what he wants?

At that age I would not want to associate with any of this fussy ceremony stuff.

At that age, the Venn Diagram of what I wanted, what I thought would be good for me, and what actually helped me develop into a (mostly) competent adult were three circles with only a tiny overlap. Some kids are way more self-aware than I was, most are somewhat less.  

Adults putting thought into the readiness and mindset of specific little humans and what will awaken or enhance their sense of agency and responsibility seems a great thing to me.  Giving the child actual responsibilities ("from here on, you're cooking two meals a week for the famil... (read more)