We get so caught up in the details, that when it comes down to it and the Rabbi looks at you and says, “It’s time for you to write a few words to your child.” (when they say few, they mean FEW), we as parents many times freeze (deer in headlights type of look). The thought of how I can address my child in front of everyone is paralyzing. The amount of pride and emotion that I will have is immeasurable.
There is no possible way that I can put into words how I feel at this moment in time. Now, I know the clergy doesn’t want us to speak at length from the time they were born until the age of 13, but there are some amazing things I can choke out amidst the tears that should be said.
I should tell my child how truly proud I am of their accomplishments and how hard they have worked to get to this day! I want to talk to my child about their passions and interests and how it can translate into adulthood. I also may want to touch on how this is just the start of their journey as a Jewish adult. I probably want to tie in something about the Parshah that they have recited and how it relates to them.
A little humor goes a long way, so remember when creating your speech to throw in some words that might make people laugh (people love to laugh). People also love to cry, there is nothing wrong with a parent showing raw emotions and tearing up a bit. Every time I would practice my speech to our children, I would sob and miraculously I was able to deliver a virtually tearless speech, but it’s ok to let people see your softer side (your kids may roll their eyes, but oh well, you’ve earned the tears).
Delivering the speech is a whole different deal. Face to face with your child (the clergy and the entire congregation) you look them in the eyes and spew out the amazing, scholarly, heartfelt words that you have written. Try to exude confidence and relaxation and stay in the moment (easier said than done, I know).
Whatever you do, enjoy this time in your life, it goes way too fast and before you know it you will be making the speech at their wedding!