What’s lacking in most of our culture’s rites of passage and why it matters
Posted On May 6, 2019
High school and college graduations, getting a driver’s license, registering to vote – they are all, in a sense, rites of passage in our culture. What we seem to have lost over the years, however, is the idea of difficult, rigorous rites of passage that require sacrifice – the kind of sacrifice that builds character and camaraderie in those who go through it.
These types of rites of passage exist today in few places in our society. Military boot camps are one, particularly for elite forces like the Marines and the Navy SEALS. Another is the missions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
While not the physically and psychologically demanding test of the Marines or SEALs, a Mormon mission requires a different kind of sacrifice – young people giving up the comforts of home to go to an unfamiliar place where they may not know the language, teamed with strangers in a common cause: spreading the message of Jesus Christ and serving their fellow man.
Our guest in the latest episode of “What’s Working With Cam Marston” is familiar with this sacrifice, having gone through it himself as a young man and having later coached other Mormons in missions. Lon Henderson says the time he spent on a mission in Germany before college shaped the rest of his life as a husband, father, and entrepreneur.
“I am amazed at one of the greatest things they learn – just how to get up, get out of bed and go to work,” said Henderson, who went on to create Soltis Investment Advisors and serve as its CEO for nearly 25 years. “I think one of the greatest things is that they’re also learning from peers. … It creates a culture of achievement, and a culture of believing you can accomplish great things.”
Henderson shares what it is about a difficult rite of passage such as a mission that is so beneficial to young people, the history of Mormon missions and how they’ve evolved, a typical day in the life of a young person on a mission, and how his experiences led him to build Soltis and, now a new company, Ampelis, which he described as “a business designed to help people cultivate greater meaning in their life.”
That meaning makes for not only a more purposeful personal life, Henderson says, but it makes those people better, more conscientious workers, and their companies and organizations more productive.
“When an employee has purpose and that purpose is aligned with those principles of the employer,” he said, “you have a much more engaged and dedicated employee that will help really drive value to that enterprise.”
Join us for an engaging discussion on the importance of rites of passage, sacrifice, adversity and purpose.