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Blessing Your Children

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It is that time of year! Schools and colleges across the world are celebrating the achievements and milestones reached by students. This is a time of graduation speeches, parties, dinners, and gifts. Students are assembled, lines of candidates march up to a stage, and diplomas are placed in the hands of those who are finishing one season of life and moving into another.

As Christians, we pray for our graduates, congratulate them, and wish them well. This spring, my fifth grandchild graduates from high school. With the intention of writing a letter to him to express my feelings, I turned to Scripture for inspiration. Examples of ancient traditional blessings given to children are found throughout the Bible. In the Old Testament, the story of Jacob and Esau competing for their father’s blessing illustrates the importance of the ancient blessings and the parts of a traditional blessing for each son (Genesis 27: 24-40).

The format of blessings for Jacob and Esau had four components. These blessings traditionally included: touch, spoken message of value, message of destination, and a message of commitment (Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament, Vol.1, 2005). A closer examination of each of the components reveals the blessing is more than a standard form letter or generalized message. It is a guideline for parenting.

A loving touch, a hug, an arm around a shoulder, or a kiss, conveys the love of the family member for the child. In everyday parenting, this is a signal that the parent is easy to approach and accepts the child without conditions. The family connection is reinforced through touch. Bonding is communicated with a hug or a kiss upon greeting, or the pat on the back for a job well done. This nonverbal reinforcement is what children long to have from their family.

The spoken message of value is an opportunity for parents to verbally affirm the child’s positive attributes, strengths, and skills. These messages encourage emerging skills and well-developed talents. Young ears wait to hear such statements for their efforts. In our world today, media may bombard youth with negative messages. Children and teens need to hear positive comments about their attributes for their own self-esteem. This can validate their understanding of who they are and what they can become. These carefully worded comments communicate authentic affirmation to the child and increases their belief about their own value.

A message of destination is a chance to let the child know how far you believe they will go in life using the gifts they have. One child may be creative; let them know they will be an artist or writer one day. Another child may be gifted in math and science; tell the child they can be an astronaut, engineer, or anything in the field of science. A child who speaks their mind, applies critical reasoning, investigation skills, and can discuss findings with others might become an attorney or researcher. Telling a child that they can be anything they want in their specific field is inspiring and motivating. They will develop a sense of purpose and know parents support their dreams.

The promise of commitment is important for a child embarking on a new adventure or new stage of life. The parent or grandparent can let the child know their future will have many opportunities and likely a few challenges. But, no matter what the future holds, the parent will be there to encourage and love them all along the way. The promise of unconditional commitment leaves the door open for a child to come back for help when difficult life challenges, such as a troubled relationship or an unexpected financial crisis, occur. This commitment provides a lifeline to the child in need and may prevent the child from going down uncertain paths.

In addition to the ancient blessing found in Genesis, Scripture provides other wonderful examples of God’s blessings and encouragement for us all. These passages are useful to keep tucked away in your heart and for your children and grandchildren to learn throughout their lives. Here are just a few:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

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“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 121:5-8

Think about the importance of blessings. Blessings for children at any age are meaningful. Blessings:

  1. Communicate love of the family

  2. Communicate belief in the strengths and gifts held by the child

  3. Communicate how bright their future looks to the parent

  4. Communicate your love for your child is unconditional and lifelong

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If you are looking for reading materials that promote Christian lifestyle and Scripture, following the links on Amazon to discover books for all ages. Here are just a few books for children and teens.

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