Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Blessing

I once heard a speaker say that our children have an empty cup that they carry around with them. If we don’t fill the cup with words of encouragement and love, they will do whatever it takes to get their cup filled.


When I heard that, I took it to heart. My dad is an encourager, and I knew it made a difference in my growing-up years. With my own children, I tend to compliment often, and to say “I love you” and “Good job” a lot. But what could I do to make my praise more specific, more targeted to a child’s good qualities and strengths, and less outward-performance-based? These were all good questions, and I mulled them over, then promptly forgot about them, probably because I had to change a dirty diaper or something equally urgent.


Some months later I read a book called The Book Of Jewish Values: A Day-by-Day Guide to Ethical Living. In it, Rabbi Telushkin shares that he spends time every Sabbath evening blessing his children, the way the patriarchs did in the Bible. Only instead of waiting until the end of his life, he does it every week! I decided my husband and I would start doing this on Sunday evenings with Miss Pink (Mr. Blue is too little to understand much, but I do give him a little blessing after I’ve sung his songs to him and tucked him in). We all look forward to it every week—if we forget, she reminds us, “Don’t forget my blessing!”


I try to share something specific from that week that has made me proud of my daughter or that I have enjoyed about her. It’s always something that reinforces our values—in other words, telling her she’s pretty wouldn’t fit the criteria (trust me, she hears that enough already). This last week I told her I was proud of her for facing her fears of swimming to the waterfall and proving to herself that she could do something she didn’t think she could do. Other blessings we’ve shared are times when she was kind or generous or tenderhearted, or the way she loves to learn…the possibilities are endless, really. And Justin adds his blessing in there, too. She soaks it in like a sponge!


In the middle of all the tasks that must be accomplished and the mouths that clamor to be fed and the messes that must be cleaned up, it’s good to take time to tell our children what’s good about them, what we LIKE about them, what makes them the very special people we couldn’t live without. And that’s what works for me.


For other ideas, you can go here.

30 comments:

  1. Super post! This is soooo important. In a world filled with
    curses there is a profound need for blessing. There is a deepseated
    hunger in the heart of all humanity for words of benediction to be spoken into lives pained by brokenness and loneliness.

    Have you heard of the book by John Garr "Bless You! Restoring the Biblically Hebraic Blessing" It is a systematic, comprehensive study of the biblically Hebraic concept of blessing.

    Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Such a great post. I came from super encouraging parents and I believe it is the biggest factor in the life I have today. I never settled for less than because I felt worthy.

    We catch The Boy "doing something right" everyday.

    I LOVE how you call it her blessing. What a special tradition you've created. Really, girl, this is good stuff.

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  3. Awesome post. I came from a non-encouraging family - so I probably go overboard with my boys. But I think I am going to incorporate your blessing ceremony. I love it. Probably wouldn't hurt to bless my hubby heart either.

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  4. That's a wonderful tradition! If you're consistent with it over the years, I bet your kids will pass along that tradition to their kids. You're starting something that will reach into generations to come.

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  5. Bravo Bravo!! Well written and such a good reminder

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  6. Bravo Bravo!! Well written and such a good reminder

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  7. I think every parent needs that reminder. That is one of the easiest things to do for a child and so important. I have started praising my son when I see him demonstrating the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5).

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  8. Thank you so much! What an awesome post!

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  9. Crockies! (I don't really know how to spell that but) WOW, I love this. And yes, that's such an important reminder, our kids with their waiting cups. How great! I love this and can imagine all the positive energy flowing...I'll let you know how it turns out!

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  10. I try to , even in the face of discipline or anger or frustration, I try to always say something encouraging to my girls. They know they are loved and that makes them able to make mistakes organically. And, hopefully learn from them.

    www.swirlgirlspearls.blogspot.com

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  11. I just leaving Israel after a 3 year posting, and I'm surprised that I've never heard of this book. I have a "date" with a girlfriend to go book shopping tomorrow... I'm going to have to add this one to my list!

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  12. I love that idea...weekly blessings!!

    My children have a hard time with their Step Mother, she is not like me. Not that that is a bad thing, mind you, but the one thing they complain about is her inablity to show "love"...even to her own children. They were telling me how I am always telling my kids how I love them, how handsome (they are getting older now, can't be too cute anymore, right? LOL) they are, and what a great job they've done on something. She is not like that, not even with her own children.

    After reading your post, and thinking of that very conversation, wow...kids DO need that, and I'm so glad I read yours!! Gives me something to plan on doing as a routine!!

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  13. What a wonderful post. I love the imagery of the cup we need to fill with love instead of other things filling it up.

    Thank you for such a wonderful post! I found you through a link from Mrs. R. She said you had a great post and boy, did you!

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  14. I found you from Mrs R's site and I'm so glad she linked to you! This was a great reminder of an integral role that we have as parents. I'm going to add you to my blogroll and give you a mention so that others can be gently reminded as well by your lovely words. Thanks! :-)

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  15. Angie sent me over here... Beautiful post... seeing as I have been on edge as late... I ought to start blessing my babies tonight...
    Thank you for a wonderful post!

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  16. Thanks for sharing this. I needed to read this today! I want to start a tradition like this with my boy too...since I'm always telling him "No" it seems....I should be telling him what he does right too! Thanks for this great reminder!

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  17. oh sooo important and what a wonderful tradition!

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  18. My Grandmother's was "the squeaky wheel gets the grease"...also too true, lol! Loved this post
    Sandi

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  19. Oooooooh, I really needed this reminder.

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  20. What a good reminder. In today's world we all need a little more positives.

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  21. Great post and what a fabulous tradition. I might have to steal it.

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  22. I know that speaker - it had to have been Jim Fay of Love and Logic fame. I've been to a couple of his conferences and I'm sure he says that. And he's RIGHT.

    Such a great post.

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  23. Incredible idea! I need to start practicing now, as my little one is still very young. Good stuff at the end of a trying day!

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  24. Great Idea. I needed to be reminded of that.
    over from the SITS site

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  25. I found you through SITS and glad I did. I didn't do WFMW this week, so I would have missed this great post!

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  26. HI! Just working through the saucy blogs list today and so glad I saw your post! I'm working on this myself right now, and seeing the results immediately on my daughter's face. Nice blog!

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  27. Oh wow, I don't have any kids but I really like this post. I am going to tell everyone that I know with kids what a good idea this is and about the empty cup thing. I think that is so true! :D
    http://adrienne-rose.blogspot.com/
    http://scrappin-a-rose.blogspot.com/

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  28. Really like the message you give in this one...it's so important - and SO easy to forget sometimes. Thanks for the reminder ;)

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  29. Beautiful post! I totally believe this about kids. Teaching them the really important things is the best gift as far as setting them up to be successful adults. (BTW, I define success as inner peace.) You should submit this for a magazine article.

    Also, I'm finally getting caught up on my blogs as you can tell!

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