Their future brightens when we bless children with a sense of assurance that they have what it takes to accomplish their goals, to push through challenges and heartaches. We do this through acknowledgement of the child’s worth. We back it up with our own investment of time and presence to see it through. I’ve heard one of my mentors, Becky Bailey, do this so well:
Of course you can pass the test next week. Let’s study together.
I know you’re scared, but you can do it. I believe in you.
That’s a great goal. Go for it!
Okay, the training wheels are off. I’ll be right beside you, but you can ride the bike alone.
I remember playing the fortune teller game as a kid. We would take a piece of paper, write dreamy messages and fortunes on it, then fold it origami-style to predict our future—you will be rich, you will be famous.
Now I try to bless the children in my life with words that picture a future filled with hope.
It’s different from predicting their future, but it can transform the way the future unfolds for the child. Dr. John Trent writes, “With words of a bright future they can begin to work on a particular talent, have the confidence to try out for a school office, or even help guide others into the full potential God has in store for them.” They begin to believe in the positive, hopeful future you paint for them.
A grandmother in our blog community shared her birthday request with us. She asked her teenage grandsons (currently in foster care) for a special gift that she would appreciate more than any kind of present — a letter telling her how they feel about her.
She told them that the letter could be short or long, handwritten or emailed. With permission, here are lightly edited excerpts from one boy, meant to encourage each of us as we seek to do the best for the children we love.
From Day One you have been there for my brother and me, never giving up on us. Even if we make mindless decisions, you believe there’s good in us. I couldn’t believe it myself a few years ago. Things have changed a lot between the last 4-5 years, for better or worse, but not you.