“If You Don’t Initiate the Young, They Will Burn Down the Village Just to Feel the Heat”


At Springhouse, we value healthy psycho-spiritual development. It is part of our mission to foster the healthy development of youth, young adults, and adults.


We see that our society is struggling in many ways as we are faced with complex problems. One of these problems, writes depth psychologist and wilderness guide, Bill Plotkin, is that many adults in our culture are developmentally still in their adolescence. The implications of this lack of mature adults is that our teenagers do not receive proper guidance or support. We take heed in the warning of the African proverb: If you don’t initiate the young, they will burn down the village just to feel the heat.


We know that adolescence is a turbulent and creative time. They have much to offer our culture, though these gifts go largely untapped because adolescent development is neglected or mishandled. Plotkin writes that, “Westernized societies don’t seem to have a clue about how to prepare a young person for sexual flowering, social independence, authentic personal expression, soul discovery, or a lifetime of interdependent relationships in the more-than-human world of nature. Traditional rites of passage, stripped of their vitality centuries before, have become empty shells, like the long-discarded husks of departed souls.”  We see this as a problem.


We understand that the youth are our future, and their healthy development is critical in creating a just and sustainable future. We offer coming-of-age programs for both boys and girls to honor and mark their growth. We strive to stoke their inner fire and teach them to harness it for social change rather than using it to burn down the village. Learn more about these programs here!

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