I’m bracing myself right now. Somehow, my daughter’s 12th birthday has catapulted us light years ahead into uncharted territory. We’re now planning her 13th birthday and the changes are coming too fast. Don’t get me wrong– I’m happy about it all, I just wish we could slow everything down a bit.
We’ve been researching how to help her celebrate and step confidently into this new chapter of life. In Stasi Eldredge’s book, “Becoming Myself,” she describes how some friends called their daughter into womanhood with a special ceremony attended by family and friends.
I love this!
First, they kept the ceremony a secret.
Her dad took her shopping to buy a beautiful white dress.
Several weeks before the occasion, they had her write a paper on what it meant to be a Christian woman. She read it at the ceremony. The event began with a scene from Fellowship of the Ring where Arwen rides with Frodo to the river. Then her brothers brought in Arwen’s sword and spoke words of blessing to her. Her mom then took the sword and shared what she saw in her and called her out as “Arwen, a warrior princess.” Each person shared words of encouragement and blessing. Finally, her dad spoke and then handed her the sword.
(Disclaimer: prepare to cry!)
They told her that the song “Butterfly Kisses” was played at her dedication as an infant and as the song started, her dad asked her to dance. He then sat her on his lap and handed her a purity ring with her birthstone in the middle, held up by her mother and father’s birthstone. Inside the band read, “Forever my daughter.”
Then everyone gathered around her, laid hands on her and anointed her for this next chapter of life and “sealing in her heart everything that had been spoken.”
Friends presented her with a charm bracelet, where each picked out a special charm. Throughout the night, people wrote down their words of blessing and encouragement in a journal. It was truly a night she will never forget –a right of passage, a coming of age.
Sure, parties are fun and our children are both precious and priceless to us. We want to mark their milestones and create memories they can look back on, but this is so much more than that.
Who Am I and What Is the Meaning of My Life?
- Each month 14,800 individuals search the phrase “what is the meaning of life.” Core questions of identity are a major source of struggle today.
- The foundation for a strong sense of identity and significance is laid during childhood.
- Parents can learn a great deal about helping kids develop a strong sense of identity from the Jewish concept of blessing.
- The concept of blessing begins by accepting and naming our child’s unique and God-given identity. A parent’s daily prayer should include, “God, help me see the man/woman you are calling forth in my son/daughter and give me the grace to help name it correctly.” As parents, we are raising up adults, not children, who will hopefully know God and know who He has created them to be.
So, am I saying that my daughter’s party will answer all of the questions of her life? Will it seal her heart and fully protect her from the negative thoughts and confusion that may try to distract her or whisper lies at some point in her life? Of course not. But creating this kind of defining moment is more powerful than it may seem at first glance:
The Gift of An Identity
Our child’s identity, which includes all of their gifts, callings, talents and abilities wrapped together with who they are in Christ, exists. It is real. Making this truth clear by marking it with an occasion and speaking a blessing over our children helps establish their identity and purpose as an adult. It gives them a reference point, a foundation of strength.
Speaking blessing into our child’s life is one of the best ways to help them to answer the question, “Who am I?”
What is a Blessing?
The Hebrew word “to bless” is baruch, which means “a good word.” Throughout the Bible, the power of God’s people to speak forth blessing to one another is clearly shown. Parents have the privilege and power to speak life, health, growth, joy and self-confidence over their child every day.
Before a ceremonial blessing or coming of age party, parents can take the time to pray about the future of their child, asking God to help them recognize their gifts and callings. Remember, behavior is not an indicator of identity. When we bless our child, we are affirming who they were created to be.
Today, and every day, let’s agree to surround our children with words that will celebrate them, validate them, and align them with God’s plan and purpose for their life.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26