One of the keys to faith-talk is repetition. Do you know what the word "Deuteronomy" means? (It's OK, neither did I!) It means "repetition of the law." If you read all of Deuteronomy, you’ll find that Moses continually repeats the basic commands of God to a very stubborn group of people who wanted to live life their own way instead of God's. Does that sound familiar? Perhaps we need a similar teaching style today in which we continually repeat the basic truths of God to our children.
Rolf Garborg, author of The Family Blessing, started a ritual of saying a blessing over his daughter every evening. When his daughter was an infant, he would go into her room as she was sleeping and say a blessing over her. As his daughter grew older, he continued the blessing ritual throughout her teenage years. Rolf admits that during one period of time when his daughter was a teenager, he would wait until she was asleep to give her the blessing. But he kept up the ritual.
Rolf and his wife dreaded the day that they would have to leave their daughter at college. To make it through the day, they came up with a plan to unload her stuff, quickly say their goodbyes in the dorm room and then grab each other's hands to head for the car with no looking back. The plan worked to perfection — until they were almost to their car. In the distance behind them, they heard, "Mom, Dad, wait." Rolf and his wife stopped in their tracks and turned around, and as their daughter came running up to them with tears in her eyes, she said, "You forgot to bless me."
Right there in the parking lot, Rolf and his wife huddled together with their daughter and said, "May the Lord continue to bless you and keep you. May the Lord continue to make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord continue to look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen."
Guess what my wife and I started doing immediately after we heard this story? Before Malyn goes to bed, Maria repeats the above blessing to her. Malyn hears this blessing every evening. If we're separated for an evening, Maria will share the blessing over the phone. There have even been occasions when Malyn has said, "Don't forget to bless me, Mom!"
(Maria) I didn't know then what a complete joy it would give me each night I blessed her or how this simple thing would transform our family. I just wanted her to be connected with God; and in turn, I got to be connected with her. Every night, even as a 13-year old now, Malyn announces, "I’m ready for bed now." I give her the blessing that God has given me to share. Mark prays with her. She never worries about how her day will end. Even when our time together during the day has been less than stellar, we always come together as a family and end it well. It rinses the day away and sets us up for a new tomorrow.