This is an excellent article by Ron Hutchcraft. He writes a Daily Devotional. This one is on the benefits and needs of blessing our children.
"It's not much fun to perform without an audience, right? Toddlers, oh they believe that for sure. Our family was having one of those rare opportunities we could all get together, and we were having some great conversations, keeping one eye on our little two-year-old granddaughter. And one eye wasn't enough for her. Huh-uh! Using her recently enhanced motor skills, she started running wide circles right in the middle of the room. After her first two spins-which did manage to get our attention-she called out two little words (I didn't even know she knew them), "Watch this!" We did.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "What Your Child May be Missing."
Our granddaughter wanted our attention. She wanted our approval-maybe even a little applause. Guess what? She got all three. She's not unusual. All children, no matter how old they are, need to know that their mom or dad loves them and is proud of them. It's that triple-A combination: our attention, our approval, our applause. Sadly, far too many sons and daughters, some all grown up now, are starved for their parent's blessing. Without it, they can make a lot of mistakes looking in all the wrong places for what only Mom and Dad can give them.
In a number of places in the Bible, we see examples of parents giving their children this great gift. In Genesis 49:28, for example, our word for today from the Word of God, it speaks of Jacob and his sons: "This is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him." Hey, that should be going on in every family, with every mother and father, every daughter and son. Hebrews 12:17 tells us about a son who missed his father's blessing-Esau. It says that his whole life "he sought the blessing with tears."
When you feel like you've never really gotten your mom or dad's blessing, it leaves this gaping hole inside. If you never got it from your parents, you know how it feels. Well, don't pass on that deficit; don't pass on that hurt to any child of yours, any grandchild of yours. What happens when a person has this blessing deficit? Sometimes they give up on trying to please Mom or Dad and they just go entirely the other direction so nobody expects anything of them.
Some will become rebels because they were never good enough for the most important people in their life. Others may just turn hard to cover up the hurt and look like they don't care. And some drive themselves mercilessly, even after that parent is gone, trying to please anyone who may give them that blessing that a parent failed to give. But it will never be enough.
We bless our son or daughter when we tell them what we like about them, what's good about them. When we compliment them on even small progress or achievements. When we point out to them, not only their positive abilities, but their positive qualities. Those are things that you don't get awards or grades for, but they're the things that really matter. You know, like being generous, being a good listener, being a leader, being organized.
Praise what's good, and praise it regularly and specifically. Water what you want to grow, and learn to swallow the negative and the critical and the shame-producing stuff. In the Bible's words, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building others up, according to their needs" (Ephesians 4:29).
Don't focus on the problems and the areas that need improving. You have such incredible power to make your son or daughter feel either very big or very small; very valuable or very worthless. It's all wrapped up in "giving each the blessing appropriate to him" or her.
And let your son or daughter know that there is a Father whose love does not ever have to be earned. In fact, it can't be earned. God is that Father whose unconditional love sent His Son to a cross for us; thus making possible for each one of us one love, one blessing, and one safe relationship we can always count on.
We parents pride ourselves on providing for our children the things they need, right? There are few things they need more than your blessing. Please, don't fail them.