Friday, August 24, 2012

Passing On Blessings

A number of years ago I started a new ritual, one I wish I had established much earlier in my life. I began sending each of our three adult children a weekly email blessing, sometimes in the form of a prayer or other inspirational piece.

A recent example is this blessing, author unknown:

May you be true to your strong foundation
of a simple people
in love with life
in love with God
in love with the earth
the good green earth

May your spirit cradle
a multitude of stars
that carry you

and in   
and through
every possibility   

every hope   
every dream
a journey never ending
always new

May you be filled
with peace and beauty
with wisdom and hope
with love and friendship

And may you be blessed
in all times
and for all times.

I’m sure we’ve unwittingly discouraged our two sons and a daughter many times in the past. So in our final years we’d like to do a lot more blessing and encouraging.

Someone once told me, “I’ll never forget all the times my father, in a fit of anger over some mistake I made, would yell at me, calling me lazy and stupid, saying I would never amount to anything. Words like that made such an awful impression that I took them as some kind of curse on my life. I’m sure he was just repeating things his father had told him as a child, but I still hear them over and over again in my head. And as much as I’ve worked all my life to prove my Dad wrong, I still live with the feeling that I’m never good enough for him, or can ever please him.”

Without thinking, we can pass on similar “curses” from one generation to the next. We do it through predictions about how terribly they will turn out, through our blame and accusations, through all kinds of words that hurt and discourage.

Blessings and affirmations, on the other hand, energize others, encourage and motivate them to do their best. “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,” one Bible proverb says. “Do not say, ‘Go and come back and tomorrow I will give it,’ when it is in your power to give it now.”

In other words, now is the time to bless. Of course we should also, on a daily basis, teach good values to our children, and correct them when they need it. But let’s not pass up any opportunity to pass on a good blessing.

John Trent and Gary Smalley, in their book, "The Gift of the Blessing", describe a memorable experience in an Orthodox Jewish home John once visited. The grandfather, patriarch of the family, placed his hand on the head of each grandchild, asking God to bless him or her with the qualities of some worthy character in the Bible.

We need to find similar ways to inspire our children to live noble and good lives.

Here's an ancient Irish blessing for you and your loved ones. Pass it on.

With the first light of sun  
 God bless you.
When the day is done   
God bless you.
In your smiles and in your tears  
God bless you.
Through each day of your years   
God bless you.
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