All of chapter 49 of Genesis records the individual blessings Jacob gave his sons. Each one is an example of a father’s careful observations of his son’s character and potential. Blessings were serious business in Old Testament families. We could make a huge impact on our children if we made it a point to institute parental blessings as part of our family life. Author Gary Smalley has written extensively on this particular subject, and his books have many practical suggestions.
One of the basic changes we can make in our family thinking is to expand the way we treat occasions like birthdays, graduations, holidays, weddings, and other special events. How can we add to each of these occasions intentional moments of blessing? Can we find a way to include an “appropriate message” in each one? Where can we start?
Some blessings involve tangible gifts (that’s probably where the idea of giving gifts originated), but most blessings are precious, truthful words. A parent’s heart speaks into his or her child’s heart. We often unconsciously attempt to accomplish this by the cards we choose to give. We find one with a message that seems to “fit” how we feel or what we see in our child. These messages can be blessings. The current interest in scrapbooking tells us a lot about our instinct to bless. We want people to know that we value who they are.
One father decided that among the events he wanted to influence in his kid’s lives was the occasion when each one left home. In his case one left for the military and the other two left for college. In the days before each child’s departure he composed a small note that he told them was his “walled blessing.” On it he wrote out his observations of their character qualities, his hopes for their future, and a verse of Scripture that reminded him of them. He gave them with little fanfare; and in the middle of other aspects of those departures, he wasn’t sure if they had made much impact.
Imagine his surprise when, almost a decade after giving them, he asked his sons about them during a lunch together. Each boy immediately produced his from his wallet. One had a Xerox copy because the original had gotten worn from use. The men shared a bonding moment around that table. Blessings make a difference in our kids’ lives. They are valuable expressions of a loving parent’s heart.
(C) NLT A Devotional For Parents, 2011
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