The Power of Blessing
by Garry P. Bailey, Ph.D.
Eighth graders at our church are going through a special series to begin their transition from middle school to high school. It is a series where parents are encouraged to participate with their children. Having an 8th grade son, my wife and I are attending. One event is a blessing where parents bring a 2-3 minute statement that they read in front of all the 8th graders and their parents. It is potentially, a very embarrassing situation for the kids. I’m sure many of these kids were in prayer about what their parents might say!
But the experience was transformative. Parents blessed their child by making some amazing promises and challenges. Needless to say, many tears were shed. I read an Old Testament verse from Deuteronomy 31:6 where Moses is passing along a message from God to the Children of Israel. God tells His people to be strong and courageous, and that He would never leave them or forsake them. It is a sentiment I have for my son. I hope he is strong and courageous when it comes to standing up for what is right, and I want him to know that as I am able, I will never leave him or forsake him.
So I’m thinking about the power of blessing. It has the ability to change everything. My blessing him turns around and blesses me. And the blessings show up in many ways including the commitments to promises, the making and taking of challenges, and even the giving of apologies.
Commitments are often quite complicated with conditions. When I can make and keep a promise to someone, it is a blessing. It blesses me and the one I promised. It is also a blessing to challenge someone to achieve a goal. I’m talking about the kind of challenge that has a real reward in it for the one who takes on the challenge. And for it to be a blessing, it needs to be the kind of challenge that I will support. When I make the challenge, I need to be a cheerleader and supporter in all of the relevant ways. Again, this makes the experience a blessing for me and for the other. When I know that my friend, or my spouse, or my son is put out with me and I apologize, I take responsibility. I show concern about their hurt feelings. Most importantly, I recommit to our relationship and a blessing is created.
At church, we created a marker for the transition as the 8th graders get ready for high school. We blessed our children in a memorable way. But that experience will only be made rich by the daily blessings we continue to infuse into their lives… which, in turn will be a blessing in my life. Good promises, good challenges and good apologies. That’s my goal.