A Bar/Bat Mitzvah speech to your son or daughter is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I suggest that you view it as one of life’s important speeches – a chance to bless your child with your words.
You might want to emulate our patriarch, Jacob, who blessed each of his children by sharing his perspective on their characters as well as his hopes for their future.
While honor roll, black belt and a six-minute mile are all admirable and worthy of your recognition in the speech, I want to suggest that you highlight generosity, empathy, good sportsmanship, humility and passion. Let your son or daughter know that you see your family’s values living through his or her actions.
Since so many services are videotaped, I often think of the heightened long-term value of parents’ speeches. Your son or daughter may hear your words again years from now when those particular statements of praise and guidance can have incredible power.
How long should your speech be? I would suggest approximately five minutes per parent as a guideline.
Lastly, please bear in mind the particular sensitivities of an adolescent to embarrassment. No matter how funny your remark or anecdote might be to you or to other adults, if it causes your child to cringe, it is advisable to edit it from the speech.
Please contact me if I can be of help to you.
Cantor Ron Li-Paz