In the eighties, Gary Smalley and John Trent wrote a book called The Blessing. It’s a wonderful explanation of the importance of parents’ approval on our lives. It explores the connection of the Biblical blessing to our emotional and psychological make-up. I’ve been reading it in fits and spurts for over a year. As I’ve read it, I’ve realized the advantages of the blessing Mom and Dad have given to me over and over.
Smalley and Trent break down the parts of the blessing into five elements and gave each a chapter in the book: meaningful touch, spoken words, expressing high value, picturing a special future, and an active commitment. As I read through each chapter, I could easily see where Mom blessed me continually in my youth and adulthood.
My family is a hugging family. We hug in greeting or before departure, we kiss often, and we hold hands. I know many families are not as demonstrative and that’s certainly okay, too, but I’m so grateful for meaningful physical touch. Mom still loves her snuggles and caresses. We hold hands during family prayers of blessing before a meal. I can remember many difficult times when Mom would simply sit beside me with her arm over my shoulder or holding my hand and not say a word.
There were times when words were necessary, however. Mom was a great cheerleader. She was also a tough coach when she needed to be. She spoke words of encouragement and enthusiasm into my life. She was an amazing mentor and would write letters to me when I needed advice. Since I am stubborn and contrary, her letters were often better received than spoken words.
She was generous with her words of praise. She placed a high value on education and music and made certain that I worked for both. She could see something in me that I couldn’t see in myself, and although I made it difficult for her, she pushed me to achieve. She also taught me how valuable I was to God as His child. Her spoken words expressed how highly she thought of me and pictured a special future for me. She checked all the “must-haves” in this book years before the book was even written.
She was, a woman of great faith. As a teacher of the Word of God for many years, she understood the importance of blessing her children. She filled me with confidence and assurance, and she showed me an Anchor that is far bigger than this world. She taught me trust in the Savior and gave me the courage to share His blessing with those with whom I come in contact.
My words can never fully express what she gave me. It’s only in this last year of reading The Blessing that I was able to completely realize the extent of how Mom and Dad equipped me for life. Because of their blessing on my life, one of the final chapters is easy for me: “Giving the Blessing to Your Parents.”
Most of what Smalley and Trent talk about in this chapter is familiar to those of us who grew up in the church. They use Ephesians 6:2-3. I’ll share more on this next week.