Becoming a Man and Rites of Passage

Essay by Luke Foster

“In societies where rites of passage are part of the norm, each young male participates in a formal ceremony during which his manhood is publicly and undeniably affirmed. From that day forward, he is treated differently by those around him and receives more freedom, rights, and privileges.” Wikipedia

Seeing my mother’s love was so strong that the only times I have been a man is when I lived in South Korea teaching English, but I kept becoming weak when I returned and returning to the protection of her love like a fully grown joey that has become a kangaroo trying to climb back into the mother’s pouch.

However, since mum has passed in January this year, I have been working with a German born support worker named Yannick who is half my age but twice as mature and he has been separated from his mother from his early twenties and now has a partner and two young children a full-time job and is also studying psychology at university. While we are working out together at the gym we often talk about our lives and responsibilities and the subtext is often how to be a good man.

“The heart of man is very much like the sea; it has its storms, it has its tides, and in its depths, it has its pearls too.”

Vincent Van Gogh, artist

I also feel I am becoming a man by studying the teachings of the Dalai Lama

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

Dalai Lama

However, no man is an island and I still require the friendship and support of friends and support workers.

Aboriginals have a rite of passage to become a man called walkabout. However, I am not sure if its prevalent much in contemporary Australian Aboriginal culture.

“Walkabout is a rite of passage in Australian Aboriginal society, during which males undergo a journey during adolescence, typically ages 10 to 16, and live in the wilderness for a period as long as six months to make the spiritual and traditional transition into manhood.”


The qualities of a good man I aspire to are love, compassion, courage, patience, generosity, creativity, and hard work.

Rites of passage in Australia for teenager’s male and female are getting a driver’s license, taking a date to the prom or school formal, and schoolies week at Surfers Paradise and I missed out on all of these.

I am sort of halfway to becoming a man as I nursed mum through the last few years of her life, cooking, dressing her and waiting outside while she showered in case, she had a fall. These caring attributes take responsibility, patience, love, and compassion.

Then when she was in a nursing home, I always sent her gifts and called her on the phone every day and went back and forth from home on the north coast to Sydney often to visit her.

However, my favourite thing was constantly kissing her on the forehead and saying “I love you mum”. I only hoped for her to feel loved, looked after and comfortable after all she had done for me through my whole life.

“Of course, my son has been the centre of my life and will always be the centre of my love. When he was young, I was the rock in his life. Now that I am old, he is the rock in my life.” Hyacinth Mottley

I only hope this is the way mum felt about me.

This was sort of the situation of me with mum.

Me with Yannick on a house hunting trip to Hervey Bay.

 My amazing mum.