Regardless of our differences in religion, language or ideas, there is no heart that is without an inner divine reference. And each family seems to have a unique impression about when, how and if God makes known his thoughts and feelings toward them, often referred to as blessings. What impressions about God’s blessing are you imparting to the children in your family?
From one of my interviews about spirituality emerged this family’s image of a God who does not bless, but forgets, entire groups of people.
As a young child, if I questioned my family about God or spiritual things, it was often tossed aside as unimportant and not for people like us, that is, those who God forgets.
My grandmother considered our family in the group of those God forgets because we didn’t go to church and there was just too much disaster and brokenness in our lives.
A second family presents a God whose nature is to bless.
Our parental blessing was invested with a certain higher power, intended for the good of our children.
May God bless you and guard you.
May God show you favor and be gracious to you.
May God show you kindness and grant you peace.
To this day, the blessing is prized highly by the children. The value of the benediction repeatedly spoken by the father and mother represents the working of forces that make for righteousness, and the continuity of the Jewish spirit.*
Adult family members can invoke God’s blessing, in their own words and style:
- Bob Dylan’s parental blessing in song: “May God bless and keep you always….. …May you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true,
May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you,
May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong.
May you stay forever young…..”*
- “God, may the people in my life never be left wondering if they are of value to you or to me. Help me to bless them with my words and my actions. Remind me not to leave my words to chance but use them to protect, encourage and renew.” (my prayer)
- “When inspired, I bless my son noting milestones in his life from the past week and anything else that moves me about my relationship with him. There are no specific formulations to these personal prayers, just simple sentiments like, ‘May you continue to approach the smallest discoveries in life with wonder and joy’ or ‘May I continue to learn how to be the best mother to you.’ (Dasee Berkowitz)
What do your blessings toward your children look like in your family?
*Jewish Encyclopedia: “Ethics of Judaism,” pt. ii., p. 213; Bob Dylan, “Forever Young.” Published by Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO