My eldest son and I had a conversation about a book that he read entitled Subliminal:How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior. In the book, the author Leonard Mlodinow, he cites a study on how expectations and words affect our children.
In one of the research, teachers that spoke positive words, expected good performance from their students and placed under the gifted group, they actually ended with better grades as compared to those who were in an average category.
Long story short, our words matter.
People who have authority in our lives, their words make an impact, for better or for worse.
Years ago, I read a book by Gary Smalley and John Trent entitled The Blessing. They wrote about how powerful the words of a parent, especially of the father’s. They talked about Brian, who spent a lifetime seeking his father’s approval. At his father’s deathbed, Brian pleaded one last time, “Please say you love me, please!”
It is interesting how we see this in the Jewish culture where patriarchs practice blessing their children consistently like Abraham and Isaac, Isaac and Jacob, Jacob and his children. It has become part of their daily life. No wonder you see men who grew up in that culture achieve extraordinary accomplishments in their lives. These men include Steven Spielberg, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg, Ben Shapiro, Irving Moskowitz, Mortimer Zuckerman. I don’t mean that they are all followers of Christ or God-fearers, but because they come from a culture that patriarchs bless their children, they grow up with these words that impact their future.
DAD, CAN YOU BLESS ME?
As I have learned this principle, I remember asking my dad to bless me.
He must’ve thought I was weird or have lost it.
To those who are unfamiliar, I didn’t grow up with my dad. The first time I met him was when I was 16 years old after my parents broke up before I turned 1.
But when I met him and after reading the book, I took the opportunity to ask him to bless me.
That was a weird conversation and such an awkward one to say the least.
He asked what he should say.
I told him to simply say “I bless you, son.” And whatever else he felt telling me, he can add to that statement.
Awkwardly, he did and more.
Guess what happened that night?
Thunder. Lightning. Everything changed.
Well, not really.
Actually, not much happened that night.
But in the next few years, I realized that something turned that night. I did not just feel I was blessed by my dad. I felt complete as a son and a young man.
As a result, when I got married, I had asked God for grace to bless my children as often as I could.
There was a book my wife and I purchased that helped us pray prayers over our kids while we would tuck them in bed. It was entitled Bless Your Children. It provided us with words directly from Scripture framed as a prayer and a blessing to our kids.
Dads, bless your children.
Bless them with your words.
Bless them with meaningful touch.
Bless them with love and acceptance.
Bless them with words of life that speak of a special future.
Bless them with your genuine commitment.
Bless them with affirmation.
TWENTY LIFE-GIVING PHRASES FOR OUR KIDS
Julie Brasington gives 20 Life-Giving phrases we can release to our kids:
* “I see God working in your life.”
“I love you and Jesus loves you most of all.”
“God is always with you!” (Matthew 28:20)
“You are a beloved child of the King!” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
“You are a gift from God.” (James 1:17)
“You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength!” (Philippians 4:13)
“God has a good plan for your life.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“You are strong in the Lord!” (Ephesians 6:10)
“With God, all things are possible!” (Matthew 19:26)
“You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)
“You are loved – no matter what. There is nothing you can do that will change that.” (Romans 5:8)
“Jesus loves spending time with you and so do I.” (Luke 10:38-42)
“Let me pray for/with you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
“Trust Jesus with (insert here – this situation, this fear, this desire, etc.).” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
“I love that God helped you (insert here something that your child did – be creative, work hard, think of others, do the right thing, bless someone, sacrifice something that meant a lot to them, be kind to a sibling) today!” (Psalm 28:7)
“God is concerned about every detail of your life.” (1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 10:30, Psalm 139:1-3)
“There is so much grace for you.” (Hebrews 4:16) I say this one while hugging a child who is broken over his/her sin.
“I’m sorry – will you forgive me?” (1 John 1:9) This is for when WE make mistakes and sin against them – our kids NEED to know that we are sinners and in need of a Savior – just like them, and “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
“Thank you, God, for this precious boy/girl!” (Isaiah 43:4)
“I am so happy/proud/honored/blessed that God made me your dad/mom.”