Kids today thirst for parental acceptance — they long for their mother and father to reinforce their worth.
Meeting your child's need for affirmation doesn't have to be difficult. One way is to do what I call "the blessing." This blessing has five distinct elements to build up your sons and daughters and help them understand their worth in your family and before God. Those elements are appropriate and meaningful touch; words of love and acceptance; value placed on the child; acknowledgement of a special future; and genuine commitment.
Although there are five elements to this blessing, each child is unique and will interpret those five elements differently. Age is also an important factor in how a child receives a blessing. As your child grows, he or she may require a different type of affirmation. Part of showing children your approval and their value is figuring out how to affirm them in a way they can understand.
The blessing challenge
Would you like to change the lives of your children? If so, be a part of The Blessing Challenge — that's one million parents choosing to change the lives of children, one child at a time, by taking a simple, yet powerful first step: writing down and reading a blessing to their children.
Set your child on a positive path
There are times in our lives when being able to see a clear path is crucial. That was certainly true on a rainy August day a number of years ago, when two young adventurers decided to scale Mount Dom, the highest summit wholly within Switzerland at 14,942 feet.
Even though these American tourists were young and inexperienced mountaineers, they felt confident that they could make their climb with ease. After all, their first-day goal was only to go halfway up the mountain to the "high hut," which was staffed that time of year by the Swiss Alpine Club.
Despite a late start and deteriorating weather conditions, they set out enthusiastically, moving up the forested trail toward the halfway house. Because they hadn't planned on being out all night, they hadn't bothered to bring any cold-weather gear. They soon regretted that fact when the clouds started spitting drops and then a steady rain began to fall. What's more, as they climbed higher and crossed the timberline, the temperature fell dramatically.
By that evening, when the cold rain began to turn into snow, they were still climbing. They had long since crossed the timberline, and the trail before them had become increasingly difficult to follow. When darkness had fallen, they both began to realize they weren't just lost — they were in life-threatening trouble. They were soaked, shivering and at risk of hypothermia, and darkness was swallowing the path.
Just when their situation was most desperate, a tiny light began to flicker. Even at a distance, the glow looked as bright as a lighthouse beacon to those two shivering, frightened young men.
Before retiring for the night, the keeper of the high hut had decided to step outside and place a kerosene lamp next to the door — just in case a beacon might be needed by anyone caught in the worsening storm. That light drew the boys out of the life-threatening cold and darkness and into a place of warmth and safety.
That story provides a context for the importance of a clear path in times of increasing darkness — like these times in which we live. If we are serious about helping our children move toward warmth and light and love, we need to light their footsteps on just such a positive path. The blessing is the best way I know to provide such a light.