This is the season when you hear people counting their blessings. Last year, there was a movement on Facebook to start your daily post in November with "I'm thankful for..." My sister enjoyed it so much, she continues the thankfulness post on a regular basis. (One of the great benefits of starting a post with "I'm thankful for...", btw, is that it is a lot harder to continue with a complaint. If only for a month, Facebook is a much more positive place.)
Last week, I was privileged to experience blessing in a different context---as a verb.
The pastor at my school took a few minutes to come talk with me before the kids came in on Friday. The gist of what he said was this---"I know that stepping in this last month and a half hasn't been easy. I've watched you---not so much in the classroom, but in your everyday interaction with the kids---and I want you to know that you are doing a really great job. You're very good at what you do." And as quickly as he had popped in, he was gone, leaving me to mull over and treasure his words.
In those few moments, that pastor imparted to me the Biblical tradition called a blessing---a moment in time when we stop and verbally recognize something of high value about another person.
It reminded me of a book I read a few years ago called The Blessing. Written by Dr. John Trent and Dr. Gary Smalley, it explains the Biblical basis for blessing and outlines the value in blessing our own children.
According to Drs. Trent and Smalley, five components of a traditional blessing (from parent to child) include:
Can you imagine a world in which we regularly bless our children? Our spouses? Our parents?
- meaningful touch, such as a hand on a shoulder
- a spoken message
- words that express high value, showing your child the esteem you have for him/her
- a vision of a future, where that person is able to use his/her gifts
- a commitment, to be actively involved in that child's future
Me either. But I'd like to try.
As Thanksgiving approaches and we're considering how grateful we are for those around us, I'd like to challenge each of us to find a way to use blessing as a verb---to choose a child (or adult) in our lives and take a few minutes to share the high value that we see in them. To recognize what makes them special, how they use their gifts to make the world around them a better place.
Are you in?