Don’t Forget the Blessing! By Aaron Welch, LMHC

When we think about the phrase, “bless you”, what immediately comes to mind is that someone has probably sneezed and, for some reason, we believe that offering them this comment brings some relief to their allergies or head cold or whatever they’re suffering from. Come to think of it, I have no idea why this tradition was started. Perhaps it is designed to counteract any potential embarrassment they may feel by sneezing in front of us. I don’t know. I only know that, when we think of blessing, this comes to mind. Another situation that stirs in my brain when I think of a blessing is when we pray before eating a meal. “Don’t forget to say the blessing” is a sentence that I heard a lot while growing up. I always wondered if something horrible, perhaps even fatal, might happen to me if I forgot to pray before taking a bite into my bologna sandwich. Luckily, I am still intact in spite of forgetting to bless my food at times.
But the blessing that I want to encourage you to remember from this article is the same type of blessing we read about in the Old Testament, as fathers, mothers, and grandparents would offer a blessing to their children and grandchildren. The first one that comes to mind is the story of Jacob and Esau, in which Jacob and his mother tricked Isaac into giving his blessing to Jacob instead of Esau, who was the first born. Both boys greatly desired the blessing of their father; so much so that Jacob was willing to lie and deceive to acquire this important gift. There are numerous stories of blessings that are offered to children; both from the Lord and from earthly parents. These blessings were greatly valued by those children and receiving them gave the recipient a greater sense of their value and their hope for the future.
Isn’t this concept of blessing our children almost a lost art in today’s society? I cannot tell you how many men I have counseled whose biggest void in their life has been that they have never felt the approval of their parents; in particular, their fathers approval. A very high percentage of the men I work with have this common theme in their hearts; they never knew or felt fully accepted by their fathers. I believe this is becoming even more of a common denominator because of how many fatherless homes we have in our society now. I mean it. We are seeing an entire generation of boys who have never received any kind of guidance, approval, or love from their fathers. In fact, many of these boys don’t even know their fathers. Many of their fathers have nothing to do with the family and these young men are set adrift into the world, having little idea of what it means to be a man. Many of these men struggle with self-esteem for their entire lives because they never felt like they were valuable enough for their fathers to fool with. It is tragic, really, as I see muscular, intelligent, and successful men reduced to tears as they talk about the fact that they never could live up to their father’s expectations or that they never truly felt important to their dads. Sometimes, that void is never filled and so they go through life trying to fill this void with lots of women, vast supplies of wealth, success, or addictions to alcohol, work, or sex. Unfortunately, these treasures are “fools gold” and the void constantly must be filled or the ache in their hearts seems unbearable. The worst part is that this cycle tends to repeat itself when these men have children of their own. Right now, in our society, we are reaping the consequences of years of absent fathers. It fills my heart with sadness and with fear, as I consider what this horrible pattern could do in the long run if we don’t do something to break the chain.
I want to beseech all of the parents who read this to offer blessings to your children. Children desire, more than anything else, the love and approval of their parents. As parents, we have the power to lift up our children and give them the confidence to succeed. We also have the power to discourage them terribly and fill them with a sense that they will never amount to much of anything. That is an awesome power; and an awesome responsibility.

John Trent, author and counselor, identifies the five traits that were always present in Old Testament blessings. They are simple and consistent, but wield great power in the hearts of children:


1. Blessings require meaningful touch: Kids need to be touched in a healthy way. They need hugs, kisses, a pat on the back, or a squeeze of the shoulder. I am saddened that there are a small percentage of people who have abused the idea of touching children and, therefore, our society is fearful of touching kids. Listen..........children need to be touched because human touch (in a loving manner) invigorates the one touched. Start hugging your kids daily. Give them kisses (yes, men..........this means you too). Wrestle with them in a fun way. Squeeze their arm and give them a sincere compliment. Mess up their hair and tease them. Positive touch is an important part of the blessing.

2. Make sure your blessing is also verbal: People who say they knew their parents loved them even though they never heard the words are people who often have a void in their hearts. We must say we love our kids. We must verbally compliment them on their accomplishments. We need to tell them how proud we are of them. Speak your blessing.

3. Attach high value to your child: It’s okay to make your child feel important. I know that my parents were always afraid of saying to much for fear that I would “get the big head” or become arrogant. The truth is that a child is more likely to become arrogant if they are not encouraged. This arrogance is usually a front for their insecurities but it is still more likely to occur if a child never feels their parents’ approval. Treat your children as special, because they are. They are a valuable gift from the Lord.

4. Predict that they have a special future: This is so important! Pay attention to the talents, gifts, and strengths of your kids. Then, tell them that you notice. If your child is physically gifted, tell them that you believe God will use them in that way. If they are good with words, tell them you believe God will use them to influence people through speech or writing. If they are good in science, let them know that you believe they have a great future in that field. Build them up so they believe in themselves. More importantly, make sure they know that GOD has a special plan for their life.

5. Be a person of genuine commitment: Don’t forget about your children in the busyness of life. Keep their awards. Display their trophies. Save newspaper clippings about them. Be committed to them as they grow and let them know you are committed to them.

Ultimately, the blessings we offer (or don’t offer) our children make a huge difference in the lives of our kids. You, as parents; as dads, as moms, as grandparents, as coaches, as teachers, can impact kids in powerful ways. Look into your own hearts. Did you feel the blessing and approval of your parents? If not, how has that affected your goals, your attitude, and your success? If you did have that special gift, hasn’t it helped you throughout life? Parents......................dads, in particular.................I’m talking to you. You may not feel comfortable in doing some of these things but so what. It’s time to step up. It really is. Our kids desperately need us. YOUR kids desperately need YOU. Offer them a blessing often and just see what God does in their lives.

For more family resources visit:

http://www.family.org/
www.lifeworksgroup.org


About the Author: Aaron Welch is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor at the LifeWorks Group, Inc. in Winter Park, Florida. He has devoted his life to reaching out and helping people grow and mature through difficult life situations. Whether it has been through clinical counseling, pastoral ministry, youth camps and conventions, public speaking, leadership training, educational instruction, athletic coaching or small group ministry, Aaron has over eighteen years of experience in assisting people through life struggles and personal growth. His genuine love for people and his outgoing personality combine to create a safe and caring environment for putting the pieces of life back together. To learn more about the LifeWorks Group, Inc. please visit, www.LifeWorksGroup.org.

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