Are We Blessing or Cursing Our Children?
Some parenting seasons are just…well, hard. The ages and stages of our kids are constantly in flux. Sometimes the seasons are oh so sweet, and sometimes they are more like “grin and bear it” :). I’m currently in a tough season, and while I’ve been trying to have a positive attitude (I really have!), some days are hard and I allow my attitude to be totally affected by my current parenting circumstances. When that happens, my words become pointy, my eyes lose their shine, and my brows seem to be in a constant state of furrowed. It’s at this point that I’m just wishing my kids would be GOOD for 90 seconds– that no one would cry, scream, or argue with one another. So many needs, but I’m just one mama.
Sometimes unknowingly, and sometimes very consciously, I curse them.
- I chose to not say something encouraging when they are having a hard time.
- I roll my eyes when they tattle on one another for the gazillionth time that day.
- I throw down an “I’m in charge and you must obey” card so that I don’t have to engage in what is really going on below the surface.
- I don’t allow them to be kids, but instead place expectations that are not developmentally appropriate.
In John Ortberg’s book, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
, he talks about how we’re always blessing or cursing those around us. Sometimes the blessings and curses are more subtle, but we’re always doing one or the other as we interact with those around us. More importantly, he emphasized the importance of blessing to the health of our and others’ souls.
I got to thinking and praying, and realized how often I was choosing to withhold blessings because I was tired, worn out, grumpy, or distracted. So how, God, can I bless my kids?
Here are some ways I came up with to give blessings to our kids:
- Hug them. Hold the hug a bit longer than normal.
- Leave a little note. Write a message on their bathroom mirror in dry-erase marker or write a note on fancy paper and leave it in their carseat to find the next time you drive somewhere.
- When they are having a rough behavior day, engage in something fun to them. Ask them to play their favorite game. Cuddle with them on the couch and read some of their favorite books.
- Pray with them, for them. I love it when my kids say, “pray for me more, mama”– not just at bedtime, but throughout the day. Sometimes when I’m at the end of my parenting rope, I’ll grab a kid, hug them tight, kiss their face, and start praying for them.
- Tell them something you love about them.
- Ask them questions and then listen intently.
“When Laura was a child, some of our words were words of blessing. When she cried in her crib in the middle of the night, I would walk into her room and say, ‘I’ll stroke your little head.’ I would bend over her and massage her soft hair until my back ached, and begin to tiptoe away in the hope that she was asleep. She was never asleep. ‘Stroke your little head?’ she would lisp, and I would bend down once more. I was blessing her, though I did not know to call it that.”
Blessings speak deeply to our children’s souls.
The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26
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