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Coming Of Age Study

Coming of Age Study

Coming of age is the phrase used to describe the transition from childhood to adulthood. The “coming of age” period is composed of a multitude of rituals and rites of passage that have been set in place to accentuate the significance of the roles children will take on once they become adults. While all societies have some kind of “coming of age” rituals, every culture has their own unique set of specific rituals that are largely influenced by cultural norms and socialization. These rituals can be analyzed by three sociological perspectives, which highlight many different features of the ritual. These features become even more present when research is done to examine the various characteristics of a ritual (Sala-Roca, Villalba Biarnés, Jariot García, & Arnau Sabates, 2012).

Some of the “coming of age” rituals that I am more familiar with are confirmation (baptism), sweet sixteen, and, in my opinion, high school graduation. While I believe that each of these are both exciting and momentous events in the “coming of age” period, I tend to view confirmation as the ultimate, most defining “coming of age” ritual. As someone who is religious, I believe that the public affirmation of one’s faith through baptism is important in one’s walk with Christ. It is a way of telling the world that you are dedicating your life to God because of what He has done to save you. Nonetheless, even though religion is a personal decision one makes, society has a way of influencing our beliefs and values. My ultimate goal while I am on Earth is to create a relationship with the Lord that will encourage me to selflessly serve others just as God has called me to do. I truly believe that the first step in declaring that you are a child of God is through baptism. However, even though I believe this to be so significant, some people do not have the same views as I have. For example, I grew up in a Christian household, attended a Christian school, and could be found in church every Sunday morning and Wednesday night. It was easy for me to express my faith and be strong in my beliefs when I was surrounded by others who had the same beliefs as I did. However, when I got to college, I quickly realized that religion is a conversation that sometimes makes others uncomfortable. I felt like my beliefs should be silenced in order to shelter other’s feelings, but all it did was make me feel like Auburn was not the right place for me. That social context of that situation made me feel like Auburn was not a place that I could share my feelings, beliefs and values. When I was at home, my views were real and important to me and my peers. However, I felt like my views were silly and unrealistic because of my experience. I have since found that after a little while, other people’s opinions are not the “end all be all” in college, and have tried not to take them so personally (Larson & Martin, 2012).

There are three sociological perspectives we can look at to examine “coming of age” a little more closely. To begin, symbolic interactionism is the idea that social interaction is the most important factor when one is forming ideas or beliefs about a specific event, object, or emotion. For example, it is easy for a child to have a positive outlook on faith and religion when they grow up in a Christian home, attend a Christian school, and go to church every Sunday morning and Wednesday night. This teaches children that their relationship with the Lord is important and that you should treasure it. However, it is not so easy for someone who has never heard God’s name mentioned, or if they have heard another person’s negative perspective of religion. It is easy for people to base their opinion off of someone they look up to.

Next, structural functionalism is the idea that society is a united structure composed of different parts that is successful because of the efforts of the independent structures. For example, sometimes it is easy for me to become discouraged in my faith when life gets difficult. In those times, I reach for people whose opinions I value because of the way they encourage my relationship with the Lord. As a Christian, I have a spiritual community around me at all times. None of us are perfect, none of us have the right advice all the time, and none of us are without flaw; but that is the beauty of it. Because God knows that we are flawed and imperfect, He gives us a community to support each other so that we can help each other grow spiritually. For me, this community is made up of several parts – family, friends, church, and school. Together, these four parts work together to encourage my walk with the Lord, but individually, they each serve a specific area of need. For example, when I am searching for a reminder that things are going to be okay, I turn to my mom and dad. But when I have a question about the Bible’s interpretation or aspect of something, I reach out to my pastor to get a more seasoned, wise, educated answer.

Lastly, conflict theory is the idea that society is in a constant state of conflict over minimal resources. Conflict theory highlights the fact that social order, status, and power are major sources of conflict in today’s society. For example, it is so easy to be influenced by worldly temptations. This is in large part due to Satan’s agenda for power. Because he wants the power that God has, he uses humans to get it. When I give in to the temptations that Satan puts in my way, I am immediately the target of his attacks. He lies to trick us into following him, and as soon as we fall into those traps, we give him the power that only God should have. He wants to steal, kill, and destroy, which is the exact opposite of what God wants. This never-ending conflict between God and Satan is due to status and power (Artz, Scott, & Anglin, 1998).

What degree of impact does confirmation have on a person during the transition from childhood to adulthood? To answer this question, I believe that the most effective way to gather information is through ethnography. Ethnography is the research method that believes the best way to understand something is by observing people in their natural surroundings. I also feel like it would be beneficial for the researcher to engage in some participant observation. Participant observation is a research method that works closely with ethnography. While it coincides with the beliefs that ethnography has, participant observation also believes that the researcher should observe and engross themselves in that specific social environment. While I understand that the topic of confirmation could be a delicate subject, I am a strong believer that putting yourself in someone else’s shoes will allow you to understand their world a little better. As I have previously stated, confirmation is important in one’s walk with Christ. It is a way of telling the world that you are dedicating your life to God because of what He has done to save you. The ethnography research approach allows researchers to observe what an experience is all about by watching the participant go through the steps of the ritual, and may even allow the researchers to see the genuine emotion the participant may be experiencing. Though there are many positive implications that could come from this type of research method, there are also a few ethical concerns one may have. If the researcher does the research and still does not understand what kind of impact confirmation can have on a person during the transition from childhood to adulthood, the conclusion may not be objective. The honesty and integrity of the participant and/or researcher may also be questioned; was it all for show?

A cultural universal is a something that is considered to be a “norm” to every culture. The idea of a “coming of age” ritual being culturally universal is a bit of a stretch, but I believe it could be done. For example, when one goes into another country on a mission trip, they have a chance to share God’s word and save His people through water baptism. While many countries have never heard of God, we have opportunities to share our “norms” in order to spread it across various cultures. I believe that societies have to accept those specific rituals in order for others to consider it a “norm,” but once it becomes celebrated by others within that society, I think it could stick (Franks, 2014).

An example of a familiar ritual would be confirmation, and an example of an unfamiliar ritual would be initiation into a Greek sorority. Confirmation is the ritual of a person being baptized in water to signify being born into the kingdom of God. Confirmation is important in one’s walk with Christ. It is a way of telling the world that you are dedicating your life to God because of what He has done to save you. An initiation into a Greek sorority is when one is accepted into an exclusive group, which signifies their membership and allegiance to the bonds created within your sorority. Both confirmation and Greek sorority initiation are public declaration of loyalty to specific people. Because of the oath of loyalty shared with both of these, it is easy for ethnocentrism to become prevalent. When one takes an oath to be loyal to something, it is easy for them to put those things on a pedestal or see those things as the best or only. It is also easy for cultural relativism to come into play. Because you feel a certain way about these things, you expect others within these bonds of the Greek sorority or Christianity to feel the same way about things as you feel or to look at life through the same lens you’re looking through.Coming of Age Study

Coming of age is the phrase used to describe the transition from childhood to adulthood. The “coming of age” period is composed of a multitude of rituals and rites of passage that have been set in place to accentuate the significance of the roles children will take on once they become adults. While all societies have some kind of “coming of age” rituals, every culture has their own unique set of specific rituals that are largely influenced by cultural norms and socialization. These rituals can be analyzed by three sociological perspectives, which highlight many different features of the ritual. These features become even more present when research is done to examine the various characteristics of a ritual (Sala-Roca, Villalba Biarnés, Jariot García, & Arnau Sabates, 2012).

Some of the “coming of age” rituals that I am more familiar with are confirmation (baptism), sweet sixteen, and, in my opinion, high school graduation. While I believe that each of these are both exciting and momentous events in the “coming of age” period, I tend to view confirmation as the ultimate, most defining “coming of age” ritual. As someone who is religious, I believe that the public affirmation of one’s faith through baptism is important in one’s walk with Christ. It is a way of telling the world that you are dedicating your life to God because of what He has done to save you. Nonetheless, even though religion is a personal decision one makes, society has a way of influencing our beliefs and values. My ultimate goal while I am on Earth is to create a relationship with the Lord that will encourage me to selflessly serve others just as God has called me to do. I truly believe that the first step in declaring that you are a child of God is through baptism. However, even though I believe this to be so significant, some people do not have the same views as I have. For example, I grew up in a Christian household, attended a Christian school, and could be found in church every Sunday morning and Wednesday night. It was easy for me to express my faith and be strong in my beliefs when I was surrounded by others who had the same beliefs as I did. However, when I got to college, I quickly realized that religion is a conversation that sometimes makes others uncomfortable. I felt like my beliefs should be silenced in order to shelter other’s feelings, but all it did was make me feel like Auburn was not the right place for me. That social context of that situation made me feel like Auburn was not a place that I could share my feelings, beliefs and values. When I was at home, my views were real and important to me and my peers. However, I felt like my views were silly and unrealistic because of my experience. I have since found that after a little while, other people’s opinions are not the “end all be all” in college, and have tried not to take them so personally (Larson & Martin, 2012).

There are three sociological perspectives we can look at to examine “coming of age” a little more closely. To begin, symbolic interactionism is the idea that social interaction is the most important factor when one is forming ideas or beliefs about a specific event, object, or emotion. For example, it is easy for a child to have a positive outlook on faith and religion when they grow up in a Christian home, attend a Christian school, and go to church every Sunday morning and Wednesday night. This teaches children that their relationship with the Lord is important and that you should treasure it. However, it is not so easy for someone who has never heard God’s name mentioned, or if they have heard another person’s negative perspective of religion. It is easy for people to base their opinion off of someone they look up to.

Next, structural functionalism is the idea that society is a united structure composed of different parts that is successful because of the efforts of the independent structures. For example, sometimes it is easy for me to become discouraged in my faith when life gets difficult. In those times, I reach for people whose opinions I value because of the way they encourage my relationship with the Lord. As a Christian, I have a spiritual community around me at all times. None of us are perfect, none of us have the right advice all the time, and none of us are without flaw; but that is the beauty of it. Because God knows that we are flawed and imperfect, He gives us a community to support each other so that we can help each other grow spiritually. For me, this community is made up of several parts – family, friends, church, and school. Together, these four parts work together to encourage my walk with the Lord, but individually, they each serve a specific area of need. For example, when I am searching for a reminder that things are going to be okay, I turn to my mom and dad. But when I have a question about the Bible’s interpretation or aspect of something, I reach out to my pastor to get a more seasoned, wise, educated answer.

Lastly, conflict theory is the idea that society is in a constant state of conflict over minimal resources. Conflict theory highlights the fact that social order, status, and power are major sources of conflict in today’s society. For example, it is so easy to be influenced by worldly temptations. This is in large part due to Satan’s agenda for power. Because he wants the power that God has, he uses humans to get it. When I give in to the temptations that Satan puts in my way, I am immediately the target of his attacks. He lies to trick us into following him, and as soon as we fall into those traps, we give him the power that only God should have. He wants to steal, kill, and destroy, which is the exact opposite of what God wants. This never-ending conflict between God and Satan is due to status and power (Artz, Scott, & Anglin, 1998).

What degree of impact does confirmation have on a person during the transition from childhood to adulthood? To answer this question, I believe that the most effective way to gather information is through ethnography. Ethnography is the research method that believes the best way to understand something is by observing people in their natural surroundings. I also feel like it would be beneficial for the researcher to engage in some participant observation. Participant observation is a research method that works closely with ethnography. While it coincides with the beliefs that ethnography has, participant observation also believes that the researcher should observe and engross themselves in that specific social environment. While I understand that the topic of confirmation could be a delicate subject, I am a strong believer that putting yourself in someone else’s shoes will allow you to understand their world a little better. As I have previously stated, confirmation is important in one’s walk with Christ. It is a way of telling the world that you are dedicating your life to God because of what He has done to save you. The ethnography research approach allows researchers to observe what an experience is all about by watching the participant go through the steps of the ritual, and may even allow the researchers to see the genuine emotion the participant may be experiencing. Though there are many positive implications that could come from this type of research method, there are also a few ethical concerns one may have. If the researcher does the research and still does not understand what kind of impact confirmation can have on a person during the transition from childhood to adulthood, the conclusion may not be objective. The honesty and integrity of the participant and/or researcher may also be questioned; was it all for show?

A cultural universal is a something that is considered to be a “norm” to every culture. The idea of a “coming of age” ritual being culturally universal is a bit of a stretch, but I believe it could be done. For example, when one goes into another country on a mission trip, they have a chance to share God’s word and save His people through water baptism. While many countries have never heard of God, we have opportunities to share our “norms” in order to spread it across various cultures. I believe that societies have to accept those specific rituals in order for others to consider it a “norm,” but once it becomes celebrated by others within that society, I think it could stick (Franks, 2014).

An example of a familiar ritual would be confirmation, and an example of an unfamiliar ritual would be initiation into a Greek sorority. Confirmation is the ritual of a person being baptized in water to signify being born into the kingdom of God. Confirmation is important in one’s walk with Christ. It is a way of telling the world that you are dedicating your life to God because of what He has done to save you. An initiation into a Greek sorority is when one is accepted into an exclusive group, which signifies their membership and allegiance to the bonds created within your sorority. Both confirmation and Greek sorority initiation are public declaration of loyalty to specific people. Because of the oath of loyalty shared with both of these, it is easy for ethnocentrism to become prevalent. When one takes an oath to be loyal to something, it is easy for them to put those things on a pedestal or see those things as the best or only. It is also easy for cultural relativism to come into play. Because you feel a certain way about these things, you expect others within these bonds of the Greek sorority or Christianity to feel the same way about things as you feel or to look at life through the same lens you’re looking through.