Today’s Table Talk is by the ever encouraging Becky Harling. What a privilege for her to share with us. For over 30 years Becky has taught God’s Word at conferences, retreats, and other events both nationally and internationally. She has been a featured guest on the Daystar Television Network, Moody’s Midday Connection, and many other top rated radio shows.
Becky is the author of Finding Calm in Life’s Chaos and Rewriting Your Emotional Script, which has also been published in Polish. Her third book Freedom From Performing was released in 2011. You can check it all out at beckyharling.com
Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom with us, Becky. … and thanks for walking the road with me.
The Power of Blessing Your Child
When my kids were growing up, I found myself constantly correcting. Instruction seemed to flow out of my mouth in an endless stream: “Pick up your clothes, make your bed, do your homework, chew with your mouth closed, brush your teeth”…all those lovely comments that we as Mothers say every day. A pivotal moment came for me when I read Proverbs 14:1, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” The Holy Spirit pierced my heart and showed me that He wanted me to start building up my kids a whole lot more. He wanted me to start practicing the biblical concept of blessing them (Genesis 49, Leviticus 9:23-24, Psalm 20:1-5, Psalm 67:1, Matthew 19:13-14, Luke 18:16).
As I began to study the power of blessing others, I determined to begin practicing this with my children and the results were phenomenal! Attitudes and actions changed. And, my relationships with them improved. Now years later, I have strong relationships with each of my adult kids. As adults, they still need that blessing, much more than they need my advice. Think about what your relationship is like with each of your individual children. Are any of those relationships strained? If so, try blessing and watch what happens. Here are a few tangible ideas to get you started:
Bless them before they go to bed each night. No matter how difficult the day has been, don’t let your children go to sleep without the assurance that you love them. Pray a prayer of blessing over them. Even something as simple as, “Lord Jesus, I praise and thank you for giving us (or me, if you are a single parent) the privilege of raising _________ (Put your child’s name in the blank). Lord, bless her as she sleeps. Help ______________ (Put your child’s name in the blank) to know how deeply she is loved.”
Bless them on their birthdays by having everyone in the family go around and speak specific words of affirmation. We have made it a habit, even now as our kids are adults, to do this every birthday and on other special occasions. Each family member affirms the person with the birthday. They may affirm a characteristic they’ve seen that resembles Jesus or an area where they have seen the person grow in their walk with Christ. These moments as a family have become extremely precious to us, our kids, our sons-in-law and daughter- in- law, and our grandchildren. The power of blessing them through words of affirmation has been life changing for each of them and for us as their parents.
Bless them by bragging about them in public rather than tearing them down. Now, there are moments when we need wisdom because we are having a hard time with a particular child and we might want to confide in a few close friends so that they can join us in prayer for that child. But, I have heard too many mothers complaining about their children. Tragically, their children may be standing right next to them listening. Instead, speak well of your child. Tell others why you are proud of your child and what you appreciate about him! As your child listens to these words, he receives confidence which is a blessing that will carry him through his adult life.
Bless them with little notes. If they are in grade school put a note, telling them why you love them, in their lunch box. If they are in high school, leave a comment on their Facebook page saying why you are proud of them. Try leaving a note on their bathroom mirrors. Notes of affirmation will bless them in ways that cannot be expressed.
Bless them by respecting their boundaries. There are moments when they are going to feel frustrated with you and may not want to be with you – give them permission to feel and set boundaries. Don’t barge into their bedrooms without knocking. Don’t force them to kiss you or hug you if they need a little space. Give them time. When you respect their boundaries, you are blessing them and enabling them to set the boundaries they need in their adult life.
Finally, bless them by apologizing when you mess up. Every time you apologize to your child, you are modeling grace. You are setting an example that they will need for the rest of their lives.
As you practice blessing your child, I believe you are going to discover that parenting becomes far less stressful. Your children are going to “light up” as they begin to realize in new ways how much you love and respect them. And ultimately, their understanding of God is going to grow.
Freedom From Performing: Grace In an Applause Driven World