Words are incredibly powerful. As I look back on my life, particular conversations, positive and negative, propelled me toward who I am today–the good parts and the bad. No one has had a more powerful voice in my life than my parents–particularly my dad. If you are a parent, this is a sobering and exhilarating thought. Your words literally shape the future of your child. The words you use help form their identity and self-concept. Like the book of Proverbs says, words carry “the power of life and death.”
Many of us, because of busyness, laziness, or fear, leave unsaid the most important words. We say all the mundane things and the negative things (when I haven’t had enough coffee yet) but we don’t speak the words of blessing. Recently, I was challenged to put these words of blessing in written form for each of my kids. Here’s what I came up with for my firstborn son:
We’ll never forget the day you came into our lives. You were so sweet and little…and we didn’t sleep for 2 years. Despite that, you brought us so much joy. We loved watching your wonder filled face as you explored and discovered the world of our apartment. You have always been inquisitive and full of wonder.
Watching you grow has been amazing. Your faith in Jesus has been growing steadily since you were very little. You care deeply about doing what is right and following Jesus. You want to honor Him with your life. We pray that your faith will continue to grow and that you will continue obeying God. We believe He has a plan for your life and that He wants to use you to do something special.
God has very clearly gifted you with creative talent. You are a budding artist. You notice the details and create amazing pictures and stories. You are great at imagining something and bringing it to life with your Legos or in Minecraft. Not every kid has the ability to draw, design and build like you do. God has given you a gift. Please continue to develop it. Our suspicion is that God has gifted you in these ways because they are part of His plan for your life.
If there’s two things we would wish for your life, the first would be that you’d never lose your sense of wonder. Wonder is what you feel when you realize how big and incredible God is. You feel wonder when you are overwhelmed by how amazing something is that God made—for example, when you stand before a mountain or swim in a vast ocean and think to yourself, “This is so huge! God must be so big and powerful!”
We hope and pray that you would always find God and the world He created for us to be amazing. We hope that who God is and what He has made would always blow your mind—that you would always say, “Wow!” when you think about God. We believe that living with wonder is one of the secrets to strong faith and a happy life.
The second thing we wish for your life is that you would always follow Jesus. Jesus is your creator and Savior. He made you and he loves you. Following Jesus is the path to life. The older you get, the harder it will be to follow Jesus. Other people in your life will stop following Jesus and some kids might even make fun of you because you are a Christian, but our hope is that you would find friends who follow Jesus and help each other.
Jesus is working to restore this world and we believe He wants to use you to do something special to help fix it. As you grow older, we will help you discover what it is that God wants you to do with your life. We commit to teaching you about God, helping you understand the Bible and living our lives for Jesus so that you can watch us and learn how to do it. We know that God has amazing things in store for you. We love you very much Keegan and are so happy and proud to call you our son.
Mom and Dad
My encouragement to you would be to write something like this for your kids. Don’t even wait for a special occasion. Just do it. I don’t think it’s possible to over-bless your kids. As a parent, I don’t want to have any regrets about leaving my love and dreams for my kids unsaid.
image credited to Fredrik Rubensson via Flickr