13 is a milestone birthday – a huge deal for all involved. Both child and parents will come face to face with new realities. The climb up the mountain of the teen years requires new equipment, endurance, a route map, and a team. There are obstacles ahead, but there are also breathtaking vistas along the way. In fact, they will probably happen simultaneously.
The birthday marks the beginning.
It’s base camp.
Base camp is where climbers prepare for their journey. Here supplies are stocked, packs are prepared, and the warm security of safety is found. As my sister and I talked about what to do for my nephew Caleb’s 13th, we wanted to create something memorable. Something to fill his pack, and an experience he could look back on when the climb gets tough; Something that helps him to remember that base camp awaits him, no matter where he goes, no matter what his journey.
We heard about a rite of passage ritual of a son going on a path where he meets men of wisdom along that way who give him advice. We decided to use that concept, but change it so that family would be the ones on the path, and with the goal of telling him something that sets him apart as unique and special. It would also be an opportunity for the adults in his life to share some of their wisdom..
On his birthday, my sister explained that he would walk from our lake cabin, down to the creek where we always go. He was told that people would meet him along that way, and that they would each walk him to the next person. After everyone was in their place, his dad gave him a bag, and sent him to walk his road.
Here is what he found:
His brother, explaining why popcorn was representative of him.
His Boppa giving him advice and wisdom about money.
As he walked the last path to the river, we all awaited him at the bridge.
We prayed over him and asked God to walk with him closely, and we thanked Him for giving us the gift of C.A.L.E.B.
Caleb climbed Mt.Adams for his 13th with his dad. We know this will be the first of many climbs for him, both figurative and literal. But no matter where he ventures, this base camp crew will be cheering, preparing his pack, and helping map his route.