Posts Tagged ‘abramovitz’

Celebrating Rites of Passage with Your Children

July 13, 2009

We live in one of the greatest countries this world has ever known. But, one thing we don’t really do well is celebrate the passage of our children into key stages of their growing up. Many other cultures celebrate the passing of a child into puberty and then into adulthood (typically around the ages of 13 and 16 respectively). Graduations and Weddings we get. However, many of life’s greatest lessons happen long before these celebratory events. Subsequently, we’ve left much of the indoctrination or teaching of the major issues that our children are facing to the education systems. They need to hear about and learn them from mom and dad.

Though I don’t claim to be the world’s greatest “celebrator”, I learned about the importance of having these rites of passage with my children, especially my son. Through friends, FamilyLifeand PromiseKeeper’s, I was encouraged in how to help prepare my son for manhood and launch him into the awkward stages of puberty and high school.

When Bryan turned 13 we took a weekend to get away and talk about some very relevant and important topics, dating, peer pressure and sex. I knew he was aware of these things. But, I didn’t want this culture to be his teacher in these critical areas of life. I wanted him to hear that there were traps in each of these areas and he needed a game plan to navigate around them. FamilyLife has developed a great tool for this that I used to help plan a weekend to discuss these with him specifically. It’s called Passport 2 Purity and was my compass for the weekend.  I decided to book a hotel room across town and set up a golf outing around our discussion time.  We finished our weekend event around a steak dinner. There I presented him with a pocket knife, engraved with his name, the date of our celebration and my signature.

My wife did the same thing with our two daughters when they were a little younger (of course she didn’t play golf or give them pocket knives—spa and shopping were the order of the day for the ladies and purity rings for the girls 🙂 ). Ideally it’s done when they are 11 or 12 depending on the maturity of the child to handle these sensitive topics. We still refer to our “passport” weekend to bolster discussions about peer pressure (“bad company corrupts good morals”) and/or dating/sex issues . It was an event we’ll never forget and I believe it has helped and continues to help our children navigate these treacherous waters.

A few years later, I joined with four other dads and we began a yearlong bible study with our sons. The study was called Passages (from PromiseKeeper’s) and it guided us to have interesting and event filled studies with our sons about relevant issues they face as young men (e.g., pornography, dating, sex, choosing friends, being men of integrity, memorizing scripture, and becoming followers of Christ). We played games, ate food and shared what the Bible had to say about these topics and how we could apply them to our lives. It was a tremendous time of bonding for us as fathers with our sons and as a group of men and sons.

We celebrated the yearlong study with a camping event to the Boundary Waters, a very beautiful and rustic area of northern Minnesota. There we camped, fished, ate, and did other “guy things”. I wrote a four page letter to my son that I read to him while he rowed us out on the lake in a canoe. It was a touching time and one I still remember as if it were yesterday.  Here are some photos from the event:

Dads and Sons on Passages Camp wknd

Me and Bry at Psgs Camp wknd 2003

Finally, the night before we went home, each dad “knighted” his son. Each son sat in a chair in front of the other boys and fathers while his dad told him how much he loved him and how proud he was of him. The father concluded by praying a blessing over his son. Then, all of the fathers gathered around the group of young men and prayed collectively over them.

Dads praying over Bryan during Psgs Ceremony

Dads praying over Andrew during Psgs Ceremony

Dads praying over David during Psgs Ceremony

Dads praying over Eric during Psgs Ceremony

Again, it was a very moving time.

Bryan fishing at Passages wknd

Nice Catch Dad!

The boys of Passages

One of the dads in the group had a brother who was a graphic designer. He made up a framed portrait that had a scale model miniature swords, each of the sons and fathers name pairs and the verse, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Cor 16:13)

Warriors For Christ Plaque

Well, that’s been our experience in celebrating our children’s passage into adulthood.  We have many celebrations still to come; high school graduation for our youngest, college graduation, weddings, births of our grandchildren, et al.  Yet, I believe that maybe one of the most significant ones we have celebrated might just be their passage into these critically influential years from adolescence to puberty and into young adults.

SOUND OFF:  What rituals, rites of passage or celebrations have you experienced with your children that you know made a significant impact on their lives in preparing them to be mature men and women??

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Father’s Day Fast Forward: I hope you remember that…

June 20, 2009

This is the second of three posts in the Father’s Day Fast Forward series- things the DadPad authors would like our children to remember about us when they write their Father’s Day memories years from now.  This installment from Jeff Abramovitz

Dad

On the surface, it’s kind of a sobering thought to envision that day whenyou will be eulogized or talked about by others in the past tense. Yet, there will be a day when we will all be a memory to someone. So, Bryan, Erin and Jaclyn, I know one day you’ll share the life and times (both the good and challenging) Abramovitz family with your family and friends.  When the sun sets on my life and I’m ushered into the arms of Christ, in addition to the outrageous, frustrating, and sometimes dramatic memories we shared together, I simply hope you remember that…:

  • I prayed for you before you were born and I always knew you weren’t ours but you were on loan from God, kind of like the Blues Brothers 😉 (you may have to rent the movie to get it).
  • Loving your mom was the most important thing in my life. Though I didn’t model it well all the times, she was my best friend and you were the result of that deep, covenant love. I prayed the same for your marriages each day of my life.
  • You weren’t the only ones to be prisoner to my corny “fly fishing” type jokes. Sad story is that I started telling those long before you were born.
  • Those times I lost my cool (like the time when the toilet overflowed and you laughed when I dumped the gallons of water in the light fixture all over the kitchen) and asked for your forgiveness…I really meant it.
  • When we wrestled on the floor, I didn’t want to be anywhere else.
  • I was always so proud of each of you as continued maturing in your faith and relationship with Christ
  • The words from friends, family and neighbors about your lives always brought me more joy than I could express.
  • All those lectures I tried to mask as “teachable moments” came from my heart, even when I knew all you heard was “blah blah blah”.
  • Though we didn’t always have the “stuff”, I was always satisfied with what I had in you.
  • My heart literally ached when you left our house. It was right for you to “fly” with your wings to begin the life God gave you, but the imprint of your lives on your mom’s and my heart was indelible.
  • God was my delight.
  • In my imperfection and often sinful life, God’s grace reached down to cover my sins through the blood of Christ, so I could serve and love you and others out of gratitude and love because He loved me first.
  • We had a LOT of fun together and I liked to laugh with you and to make you laugh.
  • We also had times of tears and that was OK too.
  • Every time I stomped around the house upset because you didn’t pick something up that I stubbed my toe on…I was upset and DID want you to pick it up J.
  • When I saw your name come up on my cell phone from a call or text, I always smiled.
  • I always loved you unconditionally. Nothing you did ever diminished my love for you. NOTHING.
  • I didn’t give up fighting the good fight until my last breath and prayed you would do the same.
  • I LOVED YOU and can’t wait for our reunion in heaven.

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Thoughts from a Daddy’s Girl

May 31, 2009

Guest post from my daughter, Jaclyn (17)

ME: So, we’re heading up to Minnesota for a couple of reasons; to attend a good friend of mine’s wedding and to spend time with family and friends. As we’re heading up I-35 my 17 yr old daughter, Jaclyn, wants to use my computer to watch a movie.  “OK”, I replied.  Soon, she pulled the laptop out of my briefcase and began loading the DVD.  After a few minutes I assumed she was well into the movie when her fingers starting scurrying faster than my dog chasing after a treat.  Interesting concept, I thought to myself…movie 2.0 (meaning interactive for you non-techy types).  She wasn’t watching the movie.  All she said was, “I’m writing something and I’ll let you read it after I’m done.”

I have to admit I was curious.  After an hour or so, she handed me the laptop and I read her musings.  She had taken it upon herself to write an article from the “kids perspective” for our DadPad blog.  Very interesting.  What 17 yr old wants to help a bunch of middle aged men Jacs pic in snowget readership to their blog site (convinced that she will draw more interest than we have … LOL)?  Without any further ado, here’s the blog post that she rendered about why a father needs to make sure that he’s disciplining his child, in love, for her benefit.  Thanks, Jacs!

Thoughts from a Daddy’s girl

Jaclyn Abramovitz 5/27/09

Whenever Mom’s gone, we party. Not saying my mom’s not fun, but when we’re with my dad, we get pizza, movies, ice cream and other good stuff. 🙂  I think most dads are just wired to be the kids who’ve never grown up and therefore like to party it up with their own kids. This is a great thing, don’t get me wrong but I think sometimes Dad’s forget their other big responsibility…disciplining. Bet you never expected to hear a child say they need their dad to discipline, but regardless, it’s true.

Think about it, if you were never punished, you’d grow up thinking that whatever, whenever was acceptable. Think about what a shock it’d be going to your first job and for once being disciplined! What a wake-up call, do you mean to tell me that the world has consequences for poor choices and sometimes a negative answer to your whims? Even though you never want to hurt your kids, and, as my own dad has said, it’s hard to say no to someone who you love and have to deny them something they want, it’s harder to see them walking into something that’ll hurt them. That’s why discipline is so important, it’s because you want what’s best for your child and don’t want them to make some of the same mistakes you made. And while we don’t appreciate it and certainly don’t like it while we’re being disciplined, it doesn’t mean we won’t look back and thank you for doing it. As my dad has said many times before, “you’ll thank me for this later!”

The second part of this is how we see God as our ‘discipliner’. This is probably the hardest thing for me to grasp. I hate being corrected and told ‘no’ to. It’s definitely not my favorite thing. So when I ask God for something, most of the time I wrongly expect a gumball machine response. I put in my prayer and out pops what I want. But sometimes God has a different plan. It’s the hard times that shape us the most. I can’t emphasize it enough that if you never go through hard times, your relationship with God would still be the relationship between a big God and a little child. You mature through hard times, through God’s discipline and it makes you a better, stronger, more mature person. In Hebrews 12:6 it says, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves…” He does it because he loves us. So just because I don’t have a car and I’ve been asking him for one for forever, I know there’s a reason. Maybe I’d wreck it if I got it now, maybe I’ll get a much better one since I’m waiting instead of forcing the issue, I don’t know.

Maybe you’ve made some bad choices and are feeling the repercussions of those choices. It’s all because God loves you and wants to let you know that he’s your loving father and is teaching you what not to do. Even though the road may not be fun, the end result, a diligent, faithful, stronger person was surely worth the discipline and hard times it took to get there.

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Knee Pads Required

March 25, 2009

Growing up in a home that was irreligious (not anti-Christian, just no evidence of faith lived out), the practices of faith were never expressed in a way that I would catch them.  Prayer was not an everyday practice except for the mealtime ritual speed mumbling of “Come Lord Jesus, be our guest.  And let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen”.  We usually said that so fast that I don’t know if I really knew what I was praying until I just wrote them above.  It sounded more like, “Comelordjesus be-r-guest andletthesegiftstousbeblessed.  Amen.”

Needless to say, the power of this prayer was probably lost in translation. When I came to a personal relationship with Christ at the ripe age of 17, I began to understand the part Prayer played (and plays) in a relationship with God.  (more…)

Dad…Don’t say it!

January 31, 2009

The door between our garage and mud room opened.  Our daughter was home. My wife and I were planted on the sofa when the door opened. But, this was not a typical return home. “I had an accident” were the words she blurted out in rapid fire succession accompanied by high volume and many tears. I’m not always quick on the uptake but I did dad_daughter_hug_smallthat it wasn’t likely a serious accident since she had not been escorted into our home by an officer.

The words began to form over my tongue. They quickly spilled forward into the cavity of my mouth and were being arranged for a volcanic spewing. “AN ACCIDENT”…”WHY CAN’T YOU BE MORE CAREFUL”…”YOU WON’T BE DRIVING UNTIL YOU’RE 25”. They were forming easily and furiously. Then, a wonder of God took place. The Spirit of the Lord gave me a peace and nearly audible instruction to wait before speaking. James 1:19-20 flooded my mind and I became “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (more…)