Protect Your Child With a Blessing
Kids can be mean! You know it and I know it. I see it on the playgrounds, in the school, and even on the internet. Our kids face bullying, cyberbullying, teasing, name-calling, and physical intimidation more often than we want to admit. Over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year and as many as 160,000 teens skip school because of bullying. Some reports suggest that 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying! (Click here and here for more statistics about bullying.) In other words, kids can be mean and our kids face social rejection…often! Social rejection actually impacts the brain regions associated with physical pain…and releases the same pain-killing chemicals. In other words, social rejection, bullying, and teasing results in the perception of actual physical pain! Kids can be mean.
While parents cannot protect their children from all these potential troubles, we can give them the gift of our blessing. Giving our children a blessing is a great privilege, an opportunity to speak joy, strength, and value into their lives. By giving our children a blessing we boost their resilience. Even one well-worded blessing will help counteract the emotional pain our children experience in the world…imagine what a yearly blessing can do! A blessing communicates acceptance. It validates our children’s worth and affirms their value. When we give our children a blessing we acknowledge their strengths and envision an exciting future for them based on those strengths. A blessing also informs our children that we are in their corner and committed to their future. Think about the healing such a blessing offers. Consider the strength that such a message can instill in the life of your children.
Giving your children the gift of your blessing takes some preparation. First, think about 2-3 traits you admire in your children. Do not settle for a simple physical ability. Consider what you truly admire. For instance, do you value your children’s ability in sports or do you really value the persistent effort and humble sportsmanship they exhibit? Do you look on their interaction with younger kids with admiration or do you really admire their sensitivity to others, their love of children, and their gentle spirit? Do you like the music they create with their instrument or do you admire their self-disciplined practice and humble desire to share their talent with others? You get the idea. Take time to think about what you truly admire and value in your children.
Second, identify a specific example for each trait. Perhaps you saw their sensitivity toward others when they helped their friend after a difficult experience. Or maybe you noticed their sportsmanship in the way they interacted with a member of an opposing team who was taunting him…or when he was disappointed with where the coach placed him. Think of one concrete example for each trait you have identified.
Third, think about how these traits will help provide a special future for your children.
Fourth, write it all out. Keep it short—no more than one side of one page. Write down the two or three traits you admire followed by a supporting example for each. Share your excitement for their future in light of these traits and strengths. And, make it clear that you will remain present and supportive in their life as they move toward their future.
There is one more step. After you have written your blessing, schedule a time to meet with your child to give her the blessing. Make it a special time. You might give your child his or her blessing over a special dinner or during a special outing. Make it a time that will reflect the gravity of the blessing.
Giving the gift of your blessing takes time and effort. However, the result is powerful! Hurts are healed. Character is validated and reinforced. Strengths are affirmed. Identify is valued and supported. Your child will walk away after receiving your blessing with their head held a little bit higher, their step a little livelier, and their relationship with you a little more secure. What a blessing!