Within every tradition and every culture, rites of passage occur. Here are some words I shared recently at such an occasion, a wonderful time to pause and reflect.
Dear One, in my mind’s eye, I see you…
Sitting on a little chair and listening attentively to your beloved Great Grandma G playing her piano. Often helping Great Grandma G find her walking cane so lovingly, so compassionately. Selling lemonade and cookies to passersby going to and from ballgames, charming all. Conducting a seder (ceremonial meal) with great competence and poise.
This family is very proud of you and love you dearly.
Your family past
Some in your family are no longer here, but we remember them.
I recall how your Great Grandpa B tidied up your Great Grandma H’s studio before and after every class. In these classes, your Great Grandma H created a healing atmosphere, showing great patience to all.
Your Great Grandpa S was up at the crack of dawn every morning, working each day to provide for his large family. He returned home from work with big bags of groceries to keep his family, and others welcomed into the house, well fed and well cared-for. Your Great Grandma G, as you well know, showered all who knew her with wit, wisdom, and music.
We remember your mom’s parents and your Uncle R, who recently passed away.
Your family present
Dear One, look around you, and you’ll see so many who love you. Your grandparents are guiding you to become what we call a mensch (a person of integrity and honor). You can learn a lot from them. They are devoted to each other, to their siblings, to their children, and to each of their grandchildren.
Your mom and your dad are here for you in every way. They want the best for you. We thank them and all who are congregated here today for supporting, teaching, and loving you.
You are our future
And now, Dear One, you have a job to do. Please continue to learn, to mature, and to develop into a contributing, responsible young woman. Do your part to make this community and this world better and brighter. Do so willingly, happily, and joyfully.
Now, let’s celebrate this wonderful day!