Give Them Your Blessing
More than anything else, children want their parents’ blessing—their unconditional love and acceptance.
Most of us see our children and grandchildren as the gifts from God they are. We enjoy each day as they grow and explore the world; we dream about their futures. Truly, we love and accept them even before they are born. But children don’t always feel accepted and loved—known—unless they experience our blessing.
In the early 1990s, John Trent and Gary Smalley wrote The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance. The book outlines five aspects of blessing, based on parental blessings in the Bible and in the lives of Jewish families in Bible times:
- Meaningful touch. Perhaps a hug or a hand on the child’s head or shoulder.
- A spoken message. Our children need to hear our blessing.
- Attaching high value. We choose words that affirm our child’s intrinsic worth and individual traits.
- Picturing a special future. We affirm good things to come.
- An active commitment. We will be there to help and support.
In day-to-day life, blessing is given when each of the parts is present in the child’s life on a regular basis. Trent and Smalley surveyed adults who felt that as children they had received their parents’ blessing. Here are just a few of the ways those blessings were communicated:
- “My parents would take the time to really listen to me when I talked to them by looking directly into my eyes.”
- “My father would put his arm around me at church and let me lay my head on his shoulder.”
- “My mother got interested in computers just because I was interested in them.”
Blessings can be based on Scripture too. Here’s one from the book:
- “Oh Lord, may ______________ never forget Your teaching. Let [his/her] heart keep Your commandments. Then, Lord, You will give _______________ many more days and years and You will add peace to [his/her] life.
- “May kindness and truth never leave [him/her], Lord, may [he/she] bind them around [his/her] neck and write them on [his/her] heart.
- “Then Lord, You will give [him/her] favor and a good reputation both with you and man” (Proverbs 3:1-4).
How will you bless a child or a grandchild today?
Diane Stortz writes to make God’s wonders known to the next generation. Her books include The Sweetest Story Bible (Zonderkidz) and A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year (Bethany House). Her newest release, Words to Dream On: Bedtime Bible Stories and Prayers (Tommy Nelson), includes a Bedtime Blessing with every story—a short statement about who God is or what He does, applied to the child’s life. Visit Diane at www.DianeStortz.com.