Written by Pamela K. Orgeron, M.A., Ed.S., BCCC, ACLC, Author
In the Old Testament in the home children were blessed by their parents and other relatives, primarily by the father. For examples,
What is a blessing? Dictionary.com offers the following definitions:
- the act or words of a person who blesses.
- a special favor, mercy, or benefit: the blessings of liberty.
- a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.
- the invoking of God’s favor upon a person: The son was denied his father’s blessing.
- praise; devotion; worship, especially grace said before a meal: The children took turns reciting the blessing.
- approval or good wishes:The proposed law had the blessing of the governor.
In the context of this article, I am referring to “blessing” as the blessing that in biblical times parents bestowed upon their children. What does this blessing entail? According to Trent and Smalley (1993, 2011), “The blessing as described in Scripture always included five elements:
- Meaningful and appropriate touch
- A spoken message
- Attaching high value to the one being blessed
- Picturing a special future for him or her
- An active commitment to fulfill the blessing.” (¶ 2)
While some parts of the blessing illustrated in Old Testament times are not part of American culture now, the five elements mentioned previously still apply today. “And although in Old Testament times the blessing was primarily reserved for only one son and one special occasion, parents today can decide to build these elements of blessing into all their children’s lives daily. (Trent & Smalley, 2011, pp. 24-25) Trent and Smalley reported to not do so “because you are too busy with a ‘higher calling’ is to miss the whole point of the gospel. And don’t just take that from me. The apostle Paul, who knew a little bit about leading a sold-out life” (p. 11) said, “…if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8, NKJV)
Why We Need a Revival of Blessing Children
Honestly I had never heard of parents blessing children until I was a young adult. Looking back, there were those in my childhood who gave me a blessing; although, I didn’t know what it was at the time. Unfortunately, many of these blessings were neutralized by curses I received through experiencing early childhood trauma. Thanks be to God, I have overcome those curses. I give God all the glory for breaking those curses.
Why does there need to be a movement to bless children today, not just our children but all children, especially when you consider all the children who come from broken homes and others who are “latchkey children“? Let’s look at some statistics.
Children and Divorce Statistics
McKinley Irvin Family Law (n.d.) reported the following statistics regarding children and divorce:
- The divorce rate among couples with children is 40 percent lower than couples without children.
- Forty-three percent of children growing up in America today are being raised without their fathers.
- Seventy-five percent of children with divorced parents live with their mother.
- Twenty-eight percent of children living with a divorced parent live in a household with an income below the poverty line.
- Half of all American children will witness the breakup of a parent’s marriage. Of these children, close to half will also see the breakup of a parent’s second marriage. (Divorce and Children Statistics section)
Child Abuse Statistics
The Children’s Bureau (Administration on Children, Youth and Families,
Administration for Children and Families) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018) reported in Child Maltreatment 2016 the following statistics:
- The national estimate of children who received a child protective services investigation response or alternative response increased 9.5 percent from 2012 (3,172,000) to 2016 (3,472,000).1
- The number and rate of victims have fluctuated during the past 5 years. Comparing the national rounded number of victims from 2012 (656,000) to the national estimate of victims in 2016 (676,000) shows an increase of 3.0 percent.
- Three-quarters (74.8%) of victims were neglected, 18.2 percent were physically abused, and 8.5 percent were sexually abused.
- For 2016, a nationally estimated 1,750 children died of abuse and neglect at a rate of 2.36 per 100,000 children in the national population. (p. ii)
Add to that the number of children killed annually from abortion. Not to mention the number of unreported cases of child abuse, child neglect, murder, and abortion. Then there are all the children in Foster Care systems, plus those incarcerated in Juvenile Systems. What’s wrong with this picture? Obviously, many children of today are not receiving the blessing from parents. Where parents today are failing their children by not offering the blessing for whatever reason, grandparents, extended family members, teachers, coaches, pastors, and anyone else with influence on children can bless them.
Citizens of today, we need to repent of how our nation has neglected and mistreated our children. We need to step up to the plate to bless every child within every sphere of our influence. Why, some might ask? Because,
Children are at the mercy of the shaping influences around them. If their personalities are established without wisdom, love, and acceptance, then it is certain they will carry forward into their adult lives a degree of bondage—that weighty package the sin of neglect or violation leaves behind. Even if children come from happy homes, it is the fallen-sin nature of man that passes the inheritance of brokenness—in one form or another—to the children. Jesus is concerned that we properly steward and bless our children, so they may grow up to become transparent, confident adults capable of transmitting that blessing to the next generation. (Hayford, 2012, p. 74)
How to Bless Children
Based on personal experience and past research, children may be blessed in the following ways:
- 1. Leave them material and monetary possessions as an inheritance.
- 2. Give your children consistent and biblical discipline (Proverbs 22:6).
Proverbs 3:11-12 (NKJV)—
11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor detest His correction;
12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
- 3. Offer them the HOPE of Heaven. Share the Gospel with them.
1 Peter 1:3-4 New King James Version (NKJV)—
A Heavenly Inheritance
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
- 4. Pray for your children, over them, and with them—I recommend parents and others pray for children from the cradle to the grave, and even before birth. The Purposeful Mom offers free printable Scripture prayer cards for pregnant women to use when praying over their babies.
At Crosswalk.com, Debbie McDaniel (2016) shares 40 blessings with applicable Scripture verses that I recommend be prayed over children. For examples, among these blessings are courage (Joshua 1:9); Godly relationships (Proverbs 13:20); and, good health (3 John 1:2).
- 5. Spend time with your children. I remember how my parents spent time with us children playing board games, working puzzles, and at Christmas time, driving around to see various Christmas light displays across town. Another good way to spend time with children is helping them with their homework. I remember how my father used to give out my spelling words to me. It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money. Just spend time with your children, if it’s only going outside to watch them play ball or whatever.
- 6. Go with your children to church. In today’s world too many parents send their children to church on church vans, with neighbors, or with school mates. For those parents, I say, “Step up and take the lead. Go with your children to church.
- 7. Teach your children the Scriptures, especially The Ten Commandments.
God’s commandments are like the owner’s manual for the proper living of life. They provide a framework that enables God’s children—and ours—to grow up sound minded, to establish healthy relationships, to demonstrate good character, to have a life of fulfillment and satisfaction, and to establish a home of freedom instead of a home of bondage. (Hayford, 2012, p. 123)
Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, or whatever role you are in that exposes you to younger children, in closing I want to encourage you also to be a positive role model. If you grew up without healthy role models, you can learn new ways. Repent of your sins, and ask the Lord to send healthy Christian mentors into your life to help you be a blessing to children, and others too.
Got Questions Ministries (n.d.). What is a blessing according to the Bible? Retrieved July 22, 2018 from https://www.gotquestions.org/blessing-Bible.html
Hayford, J. W. (2012). Blessing your children: Give the gift that will change their lives forever. Bloomington, MN: Chosen Books. Available for purchase at https://www.amazon.com/Blessing-Your-Children-Change-Forever/dp/080079656X
McKinley Irvin Family Law (2012). 32 shocking divorce statistics. Retrieved July 23, 2018 from https://www.mckinleyirvin.com/Family-Law-Blog/2012/October/32-Shocking-Divorce-Statistics.aspx
Trent, J., & Smalley, G. (1993, 2011). How to bless your child. Focus on the Family. Retrieved July 22, 2018 from https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/spiritual-growth-for-kids/blessing-your-child/how-to-bless-your-child-part-1
Trent, J., & Smalley, G. (2011). The blessing: Giving the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. Nashville, TN: Nelson. Available for purchase at https://www.amazon.com/Blessing-Gary-Smalley/dp/0671737430
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2018). Child maltreatment 2016. Available from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/research-data-technology/statistics-research/child-maltreatment.