“This is what their father said to them when he blessed them, blessing each one of them with a suitable blessing” (Gen.49:28 NRSV).
It’s a no-brainer that it is vital for parents to be committed to their children, as we read in the last post (Part 10). Authors of the book, The Blessing, Gary Smalley and John Trent, reveal something unique about the blessing in Genesis 49:28. After Jacob spoke a blessing for each of his twelve sons, he said, “This is what their father said to them when he blessed them, blessing each one of them with a suitable blessing” (Gen.49:28 NRSV). Did you catch it? Being committed to our children enables us to learn about how our children are wired and what their “bent” is – their own set of needs unique to them. This way when we seek to bless our children we do so with a suitable blessing that serves their best interests–we give them their own unique blessing.1
Understanding Their Bent in Order to Bless
You may be familiar with the verse, “Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray” (Prov. 22:6 NRSV). Smalley and Trent offer us another way to look at this verse to help us determine what the right way is for each of our children. “Train up a child according to his bent…”2
However, Smalley and Trent do provide us with a warning. Families today are busier than in previous eras. It’s easy to assume that because we live under one roof together that we know our children, but this is untrue. It’s also false to subscribe to the mindset that because we are busy families that we are powerless to really know and be “in the moment” with our kids.
Military families–you have an extra challenge to optimize your time while home from training missions and deployments to get a good grasp on their individual bents and really connect with them. Doing so will better equip them through the months of deployment. Even though it’s wise to take each deployment one at a time, (so as not to get overwhelmed looking at several of them over the span of a military career) deployments just aren’t a one-time deal and then it’s all over. Rather, they are a cycle. As children grow, they may change on the inside. Their goals, hopes, feelings, fears, and dreams can change over time. If anyone knows this is true, it’s the military member who returns home from a deployment to see obvious changes and growth (maturity levels as well as physical size) of their kids.
The trouble comes in when parents are over committed (military as well as civilian) with their own agendas to the exclusion of really knowing their children’s bent, (their unique set of needs).3 This can make children feel unconnected, misunderstood, or believe that nobody “gets them.”
Understanding our children’s bents and following through with appropriate blessings is crucial, but there is also another element to active commitment, which is appropriate discipline. That will be the subject of my next post.
Like connecting with our children which blesses our hearts, connecting with you, my readers, and making an impact is the purpose of this blog. You are welcomed here! If you have learned something new or have something to add or share to the rest of our readers, please comment below.