Coming of Age 13th Birthday

I had the privilege of attending a young lady’s coming of age 13th birthday recently. It was a memorable celebration and commemoration of this important milestone and transitional point in her life –  a rite of passage experience to help mark the first stage of a girl’s cross-over into womanhood. After reading “Raising A Modern Day Knight” and “Raising a Modern Day Princess” I have several ideas stored away for my own children’s coming of age ceremonies and have added some of the special things I saw at this event to my mental list.

The birthday girl and her friends spent a little time together first, with some games and gifts to celebrate their friendship. One-handed present wrapping was one of the games they enjoyed.

A delicious afternoon tea was served during the adult gift presentations. We all loved this ring tin sandwich idea.

One of the themes of the day was “The Proverbs 31 woman” with this charm bracelet given to the 13 year old by her parents. The charms were carefully chosen to represent each of the bible verses in Proverbs 31 and symbolise the qualities that a Godly woman possesses. It will be an ongoing reminder and symbol of her faith and the moral foundation that a Godly woman’s character is based on.

Another gift to mark the occasion was a beautiful hope chest (glory box). Guests were invited to contribute something to the chest to start building a collection in preparation for the 13 year old’s future life. “The Hope Chest; A Legacy of Love” by Rebekah Wilson includes ideas on how to use a hope chest and what you may like to include.

Continuing on with the Proverbs 31 theme, 5 of the women took a section each from the bible passage and presented a symbolic gift to go with each part, along with a bookmark with the bible verse printed on it. Many other beautiful gifts were given, with the women explaining their choices and reading out their words of wisdom as they were presented.

These gorgeous spoons were inscribed with “a heap of love, a spoonful of family, a pinch of friends and a dash of joy.”

This wonderful handicraft kit was put together by one of the ladies. She had made a couple of items herself and included the materials needed to complete several more little projects.

One of the lovely letters of wisdom. The box held hand-made doilies and table runners that had been handed down through several generations.

Some of the gifts could be used right away and some were to be put away for her future home.  Each one was chosen for a reason and the givers had been previously asked to include a letter explaining their choice and any symbolism involved, as well as sharing wisdom or encouragement for the future.

The celebration was a simple but memorable one and hopefully left the young lady knowing without a doubt that she is well-loved and supported by many around her and with a sense of excitement and joy as she looks forward to her future. Whether your event is small and simple or big and amazing, plan to mark these pivotal points as stepping-stones towards Godly womanhood (or manhood.) See this post for some links to interesting websites.

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Raising a Modern Day Knight/Princess

Raising a Modern Day Knight: A Father's Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood

Do you have a son on the verge of manhood? A daughter about to become a woman? Do they know what it means to be a man or woman in today’s society? When exactly do they become a man or woman and what marks this transition?

Robert Lewis, in his book “Raising a Modern Day Knight” identifies three key areas that are vital in this process of becoming a man; a biblically grounded definition of manhood, a directional process to help him get there and ceremonies to celebrate and commemorate important transitional points in a young man’s life.

Along with the role of the community and the church, Lewis emphasises the importance of parents who are actively involved in their children’s lives, fully present and doing all they can to provide excellent role models. He outlines 4 principles of manhood that form the cornerstones of the foundation of authentic manhood and presents ideas for a code of conduct; ethical standards from the moral law of God to guide our sons on their path to manhood.

The second half of the book is devoted to developing ceremonies to mark important transitional points throughout a young man’s life. He emphasises the incredible impact these ceremonies have and gives some excellent ideas for developing symbols and ceremonies of your own, the first of which is generally around the age of 13.

Raising a Modern-Day Princess

Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna have written a similar book for girls titled “Raising a Modern Day Princess” with ideas for creating a rite of passage experience to celebrate a young lady’s cross-over into womanhood. They aim to help girls see themselves as daughters of a heavenly Father (their King) and true modern-day princesses.

They discuss the importance of the Father’s role in their daughter’s lives and the opportunity Mothers have to act as mentors in the lives of our own daughters and other young ladies.

Jewish girls celebrate a bat mitzvah, Latinos a Quinceanera, Navajo girls go through a Kinaalda ceremony and American teenage girls may be involved in a Debutante or Purity ball. The authors offer some ideas for creating your own Modern Day Princess ceremonies (that may or may not include purity rings and other symbols of purity) and implementing traditions that could be passed down for generations. These ceremonies may include blessings, special gifts, feasts and outings and can take on many different forms to suit your family.

I would highly recommend both of these books. Young men are well covered in Robert Lewis’ book, however if you only have a girl I would recommend reading both. The ideas for boys gave me a great springboard for coming up with rites of passage ceremonies for my girls, with a different approach than I would otherwise have taken. (I did always think Boy Scout camps were way better than Girl Guide camps though!)

However you do it, please take the time to plan ahead so that you don’t miss these important milestones in your child’s life. They will be 13 before you know it and these ideas take time, planning and financial investment. I am excited to think about what we can put together for our own children and hope that these traditions will be one more building block that knits our family together and helps us to raise children who stand strong in their faith as they grow into Godly adults.

Other Resources:

“The Hope Chest; A Legacy of Love” by Rebekah Wilson is a book I haven’t read thoroughly yet, but comes recommended by a good friend of mine. As the name implies, it explains what a hope chest is and how they may be used. They could be readily included as part of a rite of passage ceremony.

Unfading beauty reading for  womanhood ceremony.

Fantastic blog account of an amazing manhood ceremony physical challenge that a Father and son completed. 12 stones with character qualities, mountain climbing, ring ideas.. I loved this.

A blessing example.

One family’s example of manhood ceremony scriptures and symbols.

I’ll be blogging next about a young lady’s rite of passage 13th birthday that I had the privilege of attending last weekend with a Proverbs 31 theme. Stay tuned!