Yep, we had a bar mitzvah.
Nope, we aren't Jewish.
Clay has been referring to Micah's 13th birthday party as his bar mitzvah for the past 6 months.
So when it got closer to the actual day, I started researching this Jewish 13th birthday tradition.
A Bar Mitzvah is an initiation ceremony for the transition from boyhood to manhood. The teen boy is required to take personal responsibility for his own spiritual walk, knowing that he must answer to God for his own choices.
Wow! What a great opportunity to challenge our son AND celebrate at the same time!
Because we can't do anything serious without infusing a little fun, we started the party with a Road Rally. (If you aren't familiar with this phenomena of awesomeness, it's somewhat like the Amazing Race. If you aren't familiar with the Amazing Race, you need to get out more - and you can think of a Road Rally as a city-wide scavenger hunt...which requires cars.)
Clay and I had so much fun planning the day. The teams had to solve riddles, accomplish tasks, find objects...and take pictures or videos of each event. No proof? Didn't happen.
Here are some photos (and pdfs) of our Road Rally paperwork.
My kids have already done it. I probably won't use it again.
That's a lot of work for a "one and done" activity.
PLEASE USE THIS STUFF and make it work for your own rally!
(It can be adjusted to work for most towns.)
Even if you have no intention of ever doing a road rally, you may want to click on some of the tasks just to giggle about our day. (Then keep reading the rest of the blog to find out about the bar mitzvah.)
|The first page of fun tasks.|
|You know you want to read them...|
|The teams had to make three cornhole shots before they could leave the "Crack the Code" house.|
If you don't know what cornhole is...you're missing out.
I want to post so many of the funny videos, but I will protect the privacy of the other party attenders.
Here is a quick video of my youngest son "weezing the juice" for Bonus Points.
I know it's a tease.
(Oh well, it's not the first time I've been accused of that.)
The last stop of the road rally had each car picking up pizza, so we all came back together to watch the videos and eat. (Clay made a spreadsheet to quickly add up scores. It didn't go as quickly as we hoped. We learned that we should have made the teams do things in a certain order or keep their own score sheet that coincided with their photos.)
After pizza, we served cupcakes and coffee for the bar mitzvah portion of the night.
It all started out as Clay's "joke"; but when we decided to add this spiritual element to our day, he surprised me. He took the religious initiation seriously!
Normally I am the one who gets put in charge of anything that requires speaking (or words and planning in general), but HE wanted to do this. He wanted to set this example for our son.
He poured through photos and made a slideshow.
He chose the approach to take as we introduced this stage of life to Micah and decided to focus on the verse written on Micah's bedroom wall (Ephesians 6:10-11). It speaks of putting on the armor of God. Clay challenged our new teenager to put on his own armor instead of depending solely upon ours. My creative husband even bought Micah a Leatherman multi-tool as a physical reminder that we have many tools at our disposal, but we must CHOOSE to use them.
I don't think Clay has ever said so many serious things at one time. (He even got choked up a bit.)
I am always spouting spiritual things to our boys. I'm sure it had a MUCH BIGGER IMPACT since Clay took the lead on this one. I'm so very proud of him.
Finally, we ended with this video.
A teenager took part in a poetry slam and spoke about his Judaism.
He talked about how he's been "brainwashed" by his parents.
I hope Micah feels the same way.
It was the perfect "send off" for the crowd.
It is a powerful three minutes.