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.
One of a parent’s highest jobs is to accept and bless their 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.” Such a practice is called “the blessing.” As parents, we are raising up adults, not children, who will hopefully know God and know who He has created them to be.
In the book, “The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance,” Dr. John Trent and Gary Smalley write, ““A flower cannot grow unless it has the necessary elements of life. Every flower needs soil, air, water, light, and a secure place to grow (one where its roots are not constantly being pulled out). When these five ingredients are present, it is almost impossible to keep a flower from growing. The same thing is true when it comes to the basic elements of the blessing.”
A family blessing has five elements:
“A family blessing begins with meaningful touch. It continues with a spoken message of high value, a message that pictures a special future for the individual being blessed, and one that is based on an active commitment to see the blessing come to pass.”
-A spoken message (words of life)
-Attaching ‘high value’ to the one being blessed
-Picturing a special future for the one being blessed
-An active commitment to fulfill the blessing
In what ways have you found great opportunities to speak blessing into your child’s life?
Wesley Furlong is the founder and director of City of Refuge (refuge.life), a network for community transformation and the director of Church Development for the EVANA Network, an evangelical Anabaptist network of churches across North America.