Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bat-Mitzvah-esque Celebration for Kynzi's 13th

I have a teenager! Kynzi turned 13 on August 9th. For the last year my friend Brian and I have been talking about what we are going to do when our kids turn 13. It's not exactly a Bat-Mitzvah, but we did take a few principles from it. In Jewish tradition the girl is celebrated at 12, but we wanted the teenage year to be our marker. Bat-mitzvah literally means daughter of the commandment. She is a daughter of God. All that to say we decided to try and make a day for her that would be super memorable and let her know how much she is loved.

We started on Thursday night and had a bunch of our West Coast family over for dessert and games. With a delicious ice cream cake we started it off and then we played some Quelf. 

Team Halloween Masks did well at Quelf
During the party we told Kynzi this was the beginning of her 24 hour 13th birthday celebration. When she woke up and got ready on Friday morning she headed out to spend time with some of the significant women in her life. Each of them took her to a different place and shared life insights with her and loved on her like crazy.
Michelle took her to Starbucks
Chele took her to Create A Memory
Kara took her to the Wild Pear for lunch
Jill took her to Froyo
Cassie took her horseback riding
Kynzi's loving her time on a horse!

She ended her girly dates with a skype call with Bex, who I think both were sad that they weren't physically together. Brenda (one of her small group leaders) got sick that morning and couldn't take her out. She also got time to talk to both her Granny and Bestemor. There are also a few other friends who are taking her out at a later date.

Jeanne-Ann and I took her out to dinner at Kyotos Japanese restaurant (her request). She was super excited about this place because they prepare the food in a fun way in front of you.
They sang Happy Birthday to her too.
We enjoyed a great meal and heard all about her day. We asked what the different girls talked about. Loving yourself; body image; importance of God being number one; etc. She was elated. Then we talked to her about our dreams for her and our desire that she remain pure and how she can find the love that she needs from us, for the time being. We gave her a purity ring (she has been wanting one) and talked about God's design for us to remain pure and how He has a greater design for life than what the world is trying to sell her. She does not need to give anything to a boy that she intends to save for her husband.

One of the things that is typical in a Bat-mitzvah is that the girl raises money for a charity. Our West Coast family has typically shared in many family plannings and celebrations. Our kids raised money for a well to be built in Burkina Faso, West Africa several years ago, then they joined in on the fundraising to bring our babies home. We want to continue to "give them a better story" by helping them look beyond themselves. It's so easy to think about ourselves and get wrapped up in google, video games, netflix, our stuff, etc. We want our kids to know there is more to life than those things. Not that those things are sinful in themselves, but that we need to continue to focus outward toward others.

So, we are going to be working with heartwork.tv and Kynzi is choosing a project that will ultimately help orphans. It's a pretty cool concept. I got to meet Jeremiah Parks, founder of Heartwork, 2 years ago and was really impressed with his heart and vision. They work with several different organizations, including Envision Culture, which was started by our good friends Matt Peace and Jason Ostrander!!

You pick a type of project, you pick a part of the world and you pick a monetary goal. Kynzi has chosen to raise money for food in Burkina Faso, West Africa. They are being hit hard with a famine right now and she hopes to raise $550 that will feed 24 orphans for 6 weeks! This is huge! Imagine helping 24 kids get through a famine where food is so difficult to come by. It could literally save lives. Want to join in on her project? You can give by clicking here.

After this conversation we pulled out a large scrapbook that was filled with letters written to her. We had asked people (adults) to write things they see in her, things that they could encourage her with and prophetic words they wanted to speak into her life. (not prophecy like you might think when you hear that word, but words of truth that they see potential in her) We decided I would read my letter to her first. I got four words in and out of no where I couldn't read anymore. We payed the bill and headed out to the van for round two. I got five words in and was completely unable to speak anymore.

Jeanne-Ann took over and proceeded to bawl through the entire two-page hand-written letter. The same would be said of Kynzi and me. Part of me wants to share the letter with you, part of me wants it to be hers alone. I guess that can be her choice. The part of me that wants to share it with you is the part that wishes I found something like this before we did it. We talked a lot about what this day would look like, but we didn't have real guidelines. After Jeanne-Ann finished the letter we drove her to a friends house and read a few of the other letters on the way. There are still a few pages if you want to add yours to it. ;)


Cassie said...

So awesome! You guys are fantastic parents and I hope to glean as much from you as possible! Fabulous idea!

LorieN said...

Erik, it blows my mind how much you and JA put into parenting your kids and how you are training them up and giving them the skills to stand strong as Christians and as individuals. It makes me a bit sad and wistful that I never received any of this from my parents....but they just didn't have it, you know? I admire you and JA so very much. Nyah and Haak have NO IDEA how fortunate they are!! Love you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...