All of chapter 49 of Genesis records the individual blessings Jacob gave his sons. Each one is an example of a father’s careful observation of his son’s character and potential.
“These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said as he told his sons good-bye. He blessed each one with an appropriate message.” Genesis 49:28
Blessings were serious business in Old Testament families. What about today? Could we make a huge impact on our children if we made it a point to voice a parental blessing as part of our regular family life? Authors Gary Smalley and John Trent have written extensively on this subject and their books have a lot of practical suggestions.
One change we can make in our family thinking is to expand the way we treat occasions like birthdays, graduations, holidays, weddings, and other special events. How can we add to these occasions an intentional moment of blessing? Can we find a way to include an “appropriate message” and if so, where can we start?
Some blessings involve tangible gifts (that’s probably where the idea of giving gifts originated), but most blessings are precious, thoughtful and truthful words. A parent’s heart speaks into his or her child’s heart. We often subconsciously attempt to do this by the cards we choose to give. We find one with a message that seems to “fit” how we feel or what we see in our child. These messages can become blessings.
I read about a father who decided that he wanted to influence his kid’s lives on the occasion when each one left home. In his case one left for the military and the other two left for college. In the days before each child’s departure he wrote a small note where he told them it was his “wallet blessing.” On the paper he wrote out his observations regarding their character qualities, his hopes for their future, and a verse of Scripture that reminded him of them. He gave them with little fanfare; and in the middle of all their departure details, he wasn’t sure if the notes had made any impact.
Almost a decade after giving out these blessings, he asked his sons about the notes during a lunch together. Each boy immediately produced his note from his wallet. One had a Xerox copy because the original had gotten worn from use. The men shared a bonding moment around the table that day. Blessings make a difference in our kids’ lives. They are valuable expressions of a loving parent’s heart.
This summer I intend to introduce a letter writing process called, “Letters from Dad” where we will write four intentional letters; one to our wife, children, parents and one for after we depart this world. I hope to include dozens of men from the church and our friends in the community. Imagine the impact we can have on our families.
Then in the fall, we will have a special emphasis called, “To Save a Family.” There are a lot of great things happening at KGBC, hold on for a wild ride.