ben goldfarb 88.
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Even though we'll be paying for our daughter's Bat Mitzvah celebration until the next appearance of Haley's comet, we loved every minute of it and wouldn't have changed a single thing. The evening was filled with words of Torah, dancing, and a special community project benefiting a children's hospital (http://www.alyn.org) After the evening was over, our daughter presented us with a hand-written letter. After reading her words, we are considering turning over the rest of the payments to her.
Here's what she wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad, Abba and Ima:
Thank you for an amazing Bat Mitzvah celebration. I know it was hard to follow all of my directions to coordinate the event properly. All in all, you did a pretty good job. Thanks for your cooperation and willingness to play a small, but important, role in the success of the celebration.
I'm proud of both of you. You've come along way the past 12 years. I think it's very important to tell you all the great things you've done in the past to encourage your future growth. Parents need a balance between praise, guidance, and discipline.
I've divided up your accomplishments into the time periods as listed below.
I can't tell you how impressed I was with your development during these formative years. Your vocabulary, in particular, improved at an amazing rate and speed.
I remember your first few words were simple, nonsense utterances such as goo-goo, gaga, and cutchie-cutchie. These sounds were usually accompanied by very animated facial expressions that I think you wanted me to imitate.
As you got older, you started stringing together full sentences. Although the content of your prose left something to be desired, your curiosity was growing as you asked the following questions with joy and wonder in your eyes:
Where are you eyes?
Where's your nose?
Where are you ears?
I want to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that these questions were rhetorical. I admire your curiosity and desire to understand human anatomy.
When I decided I needed a break from the house to venture off to day care, you handled your separation anxiety fairly well. I saw the tears well up in your eyes as I entered the center, but I think you got over it with a high degree of maturity for someone your respective ages.
As you got older, you started the annoying habit of saying no to me, settling limits, and making rules. I think it's cute that you were trying to usurp my role as the head of the household. I decided to play along with you and humor both of you by following your directions once in a while.
From listening to your conversations on the phone, I noticed you were learning a great deal about economics, management, and child psychology. You did a good job of honoring my requests for siblings. I have found over the years that you have learned to follow directions well and have come to realize it's a good idea to pay attention to those who have more life experience than you.
Your performance was impressive while I made my way through elementary school. The number of times you embarrassed me around my teachers and peers went down significantly as time went on. You have proven to me that you are capable of behavioral changes and for this I am eternally grateful.
Thanks for the baby sister, by the way. You really took your time with this one. I'm wondering if this was passive-aggressive behavior on your part.
It's going to be a brief 6 years before I go off on my own. You have some time to prepare for this, and I'm always here to help make this transition as easy as possible for you. Don't hesitate to approach me whenever you need to talk. I'm always here for you. What are eldest daughters for anyway?
Well, thanks again. I'm looking forward to great things from you. I think that when a child has high hopes for their parents, they sense these unstated expectations and do their best to meet their child's hopes. I will do my best to compliment you more often when you reach your developmental milestones.
As we enter the next four years, aim high. You can do anything you set your mind to. Just check with me first for some pointers. Keep up the good work. I love both of you.
Ben Goldfarb was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He moved to Israel in 1988. He divides his time between his yeshiva studies and his coaching practice. His life calling is to help others understand their personal mission and accomplish it with humor, creativity, and spirituality. He lives with his wife and children in Jerusalem. His book, "Double Feature: A Nostalgic Peek into the Future" will be published in the spring. For more information about his coaching practice, visit the Paradigm Shift Communications website, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Â© Copyright 2007 by Ben Goldfarb