Most parents deeply love their children but do not express their love in the most effective ways. For many children, they feel that their parents love them when… or if… or as long as…
It’s a shame that the love that lays in the hearts of moms and dads so seldom is expressed freely, clearly, daily, and without conditions attached.
Many are fortunate to experience love from their moms and dads and other significant adults in ways that give them a solid sense of acceptance and worth. They grow up, knowing that they are loved “as is” and that someone is very proud of them.
Unfortunately, most kids strive for a blessing from mom or dad or other adult that they never quite get. They suffer under a love that is either conditional or unexpressed or both. As a result, they are not free to give and receive love as well as they need to. It’s such a shame, since in most cases, the love is there, but it’s just not communicated, or it’s expressed only with strings attached.
In their book, The Blessing, John Trent and Gary Smalley explain how important the family blessing is to every young person. “The family blessing not only provides people a much-needed sense of personal acceptance, it also plays an important part in protecting and even freeing them to develop intimate relationships… The best defense against a child’s longing for imaginary acceptance is to provide him or her with genuine acceptance.” There is no substitute for honest affirmation at home.
So what does a blessing look like?
Trent & Smalley explain it like this:
1. Meaningful Touch
2. A Spoken Message
3. Attaching High Value to the Child
4. Picturing a Special Future for the Child
5. An Active Commitment to Fulfill the Blessing
These are some excellent ways to give an authentic gift of unconditional love and acceptance to a young person. “No matter your age, the approval of your parents affects how you view yourself and your ability to pass that approval on to your children, spouse and friends. This is vital to your self-esteem and emotional well-being.”
As an adult, consider how well you affirm the kids in your care.
Do you give hugs, kisses, high-fives, handshakes, and pats on the back appropriately and often?
Do you speak truthful, encouraging words often? Do you say, “I love you” or “I’m really proud of you” often? Have you ever said, “Y’know, I like you, just the way you are” or something like that?
Do you explain how valuable they are to you. Have you ever said something like, “You are so much more important to me than anything on earth.” It’s powerful.
Have you ever said that you believe that they have a special purpose on earth and that you can’t wait to see how God uses them in the future?
Do you make it clear that you will support them in good times and bad to make sure that they have the love and help they need to go forward into an exciting future?
Do you pray with and for your child? Do they know that you care enough to offer up prayers for them?
Does your child know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you love them just the way they are?
Does your child know that you are proud of them for who they are inside, not for what all they do on the outside?