OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe 4th Annual Backpack Blessing took place in a Georgia church at the start of this school year.  The event involves taking your backpack into church, suggesting that God’s presence moves into all spheres of life.  A staff member told The Huffington Post that the blessing is meant to engage kids in the concrete reality of their lives, and to narrate that God is with them.

A symbol of God’s presence

compassIn addition to the blessing, each child was handed a compass as a sign of God’s presence in their daily life. The blessing given went something like this:

Bless these children and youth and their backpacks as they begin another school year. Keep them from fear. Guide them in the ways of justice and truth. When they are in new places and with new people, help them to remember that you will never leave them. May they always know that they are your children in the world.

Notice the five elements in this blessing, affirming the children’s worth, capability and connection with God.

  1. A spoken message
  2. Attaching high value
  3. Picturing a special future
  4. An active commitment
  5. A concrete object

In the context of childhood spirituality, a blessing can be given to a single child or to a group.

When applied in a family, a group living situation, a school classroom, or a fellowship (e.g. faith community, special interest club) these five ingredients always bring hope, warmth and healing.

Keep reading next week for specific ideas on special moments or rituals you can use to bestow each element onto the children you love.

Ways to bless children right now.

  • Compliment the child on a character trait you notice (a spoken message).
  • Slow down on a task like cooking to let us accomplish it together (an active commitment).
  • Check your photo albums to make sure each child appears in the pictures almost equally (attaching high value).

Note: The concept of the blessing, along with some of the ideas under “Ways to bless children right now,” are taken from John Trent’s book The Blessing.

Tweetable: In the context of childhood spirituality, a blessing can be given or to a group. See the example here. Click to Tweet