Since starting to arrange this barmitzvah I have been saying to my son it's not only about the party becoming a barmitzvah has to be meaningful. I know I'm not the only one who thinks this .....a quick google has shown me that many parents feel that the barmitzvah shouldn't be only about the party and the bills!!
However, is it for me to say what is and isn't meaningful to my son? A barmitzvah is meant to be the time when a boy becomes a man. A parent strives to ensure that as adults their children can make decisions that enable them to lead good and happy lives and therefore, as a man,should I allow him to decide what is meaningful. Or should it be what I think is meaningful?????? It is the age old dilemma of learning to let go.
I don't know what David will do when he leaves school and how he will make a living, what I do know is he will make an excellent event planner. He has embraced the planning of this barmitzvah with passion, gusto and a real sense of fun. He has an opinion on everything from the invitations to the seating plan and all that comes in between. I have given him a notebook so he can write down all his ideas and we discuss them at regular intervals. Using an idea from his cousin he has thought of things to do throughout the year that he hasn't done before to make the year special. It is through these things that we have strived to make a more meaningful barmitzvah.
There have been some fun things like going to Alton Towers and learning to snowboard. I can see looks of bewilderment as to how these are meaningful but Alton Towers was a great overnight trip where the 4 of us had fun away from the TV and learning new and difficult skill like snow boarding has been a challenge.
Learning about the Holocaust has been something else that David has taken on. Reading the Boy in Stripped Pyjamas and seeing the film was the starting point and he has participated in a presentation for the anniversary of Krystallnact. He is also become a Guardian of the Memory so that he will be responsible for the memory of someone who perished.
Engaging with the community is something that he has also taken on. He visits the Old Aged Home at festival times and on Friday night to light candles.
I hope that by participating in these activities my son will understand the meaning of a Bar Mitzvah. It's not about the party. It's not about the gifts. It's not about the band, although we are all looking forward to those. It's about becoming an adult recognizing the idea of responsibility.
I hope that the example he sees from his family around him will be an example he wishes to follow. I hope he will be encouraged to lead a life that whilst full of fun also is also one where he engages with the community in which he lives.