I would venture to say most everyone remembers their high school graduation. I remember well that overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and excitement about entering that next “adult” life phase. I felt like I had the world in front of me and was leaving my childhood behind me.
As are many young high school graduates I too was focused on what comes next. I was eager to take that next step into the freedom of adulthood, or so I thought I was. However, several years into this journey, I found myself a little lost. I wasn’t sure exactly where my true fit was, and without all the ready and available opportunities high school had offered I struggled with my identity.
Fast-forward thirty years. Having spent many years walking alongside families as they plan for their futures and put together legacy and estate plans I have come to fully understand the gift of extending blessing over your children and family. As a matter of fact, as parents this is, in my opinion, one of the best gifts we can give to our graduating son or daughter.
Blessing is the act of speaking, praying, or wishing favor and goodness upon others. In our current culture, Jewish fathers continue to speak blessing over their children. Every Friday evening as the Sabbath hours begin, fathers place their hands on all of the children and speak out specific blessings on each of them. You may find it interesting to know the Jewish population is filled with some of the most wealthy, healthy and intelligent people on the earth. Two percent of the American population is Jewish; however, they control a high percentage of the countries money and earn a large amount of the academic awards given throughout the country. When asked the key to their success, the Jewish fathers replied, “We are committed to releasing our children’s future through our spoken blessing every Friday night.
God tells us in his Word, the blessing of God, spoken through the mouths of father’s releases God’s power to work in and through the life of their children. God speaks of the importance of extended blessings in Hebrews 10:39, and again in 11:20-21, “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
We see in these scriptures—by faith the patriarchs knew power was released when they spoke words of blessing over their children and family.
Kids today are thirsty for parental acceptance — they long for their mother and father to reinforce their worth to speak forth their value.
Meeting your child's need for affirmation doesn't have to be difficult. You can do this by “extending your blessing.” John Trent, author of The Blessing defines these five elements as:
1. Appropriate and meaningful touch: Appropriate and meaningful touch has many beneficial effects. The act of touch is key in communicating warmth, personal acceptance, affirmation, even physical health. For any person who wishes to bless a child, appropriate touch is an integral part of that blessing.
2. Words of love and acceptance: A blessing fulfills its purpose only when it is actually verbalized — spoken in person, written down or preferably both. When we choose silence, we communicate mostly confusion. Children who are left to fill in the blanks when it comes to what their parents think about them will often fail the test when it comes to feeling valuable and secure. Spoken or written words at least give the child an indication that he or she is worthy of some attention.
3. Value placed on the child: The use of word pictures to describe how valuable your child is to you is so important. Word pictures are a powerful way of communicating acceptance. They are keys to communicating to a child a message of high value. Show them through your words the depth of their value to you and to the world they will serve.
4. Acknowledgement of a special future: Even today, Jewish homes are noted for picturing a special future for their children. The act of picturing a special future for a your child is seeing their giftedness and talents and speaking a successful future over them. We can’t predict another person's future but we can help those we are blessing see a future that is full of light and opportunity. We can let them know we believe they can build an outstanding life and future with the strengths and abilities God has given them.
5. Genuine commitment: Stand behind the blessing you bestow on your children. Several times God spoke directly through the angel of the Lord to the patriarchs confirming his active commitment to their family line. As parents we must rely on the Lord to give us the strength and staying power to confirm our children's blessing by expressing such an active commitment. We also have God's Word through the Scriptures as a guide and the power of the Holy Spirit. Active commitment is crucial to communicating the blessing in our homes and over our children.
Graduation offers a great time to share your spoken blessing with your child, as it is a time of celebration and launching them into the next phase of life. If you will write down your words and make your plans, I believe you will find that God just works it out! The gift of your blessing is a gift that will keep on blessing.
Guy Hatcher: The Legacy Guy® – is passionate about helping families plan their legacy. His book, Your Future Reflection: How to Leave a Legacy Beyond Money, is available at amazon.com. Follow him on twitter @guyhatcher or contact him at www.guyhatcher.com.
Publication date: May 19, 2016