Most people I meet, myself included want the best for our kids. We desire them to be well, happy and fortunate; which is the definition of the word “bless.”
I want to share three principles we learn from Jesus on how to bless our kids. I believe that if we do these three things, our kids will be fine. Better than fine, they will be blessed. These three principles we will learn from Jesus are timeless principles for kids. They have not changed and will not change in the next 2000 years. We’ll look at Jesus example in how to bless our kids in Mark 10:13-16.
Three Ways to Bless Our Kids:
1. Loving Touch
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them ….
Children refer to babies through pre-teens. The word translated “touch” means to attach oneself or to embrace. There is power in loving, appropriate touch. Each time the word “touch” appears in reference to Jesus in the New Testament, it leads health or healing.
Loving touch is vital to children. We have learned this the hard way in history. For example, In the Thirteenth Century, Emperor Frederick, II was curious what language a would child speak if never spoken to from the time he or she was born? He had fifty infants for his experiment. Nurses were not allowed to speak to these babies or to show them affection, but were to meet the only the most basic needs of feeding and changing diapers. Within one year all fifty babies died.[i] It turns out that a basic need is touch and affection.
In the past I have not been as affectionate as I should be. I have said things like, “I’m not a touchy type of person.” God has changed me. I now know this is vital need for wife and children. It also helped that in my excuse of not being a touchy person, I sensed the Holy Spirit say, “Get over it.”
Other research about loving touch indicates that during their pre-teen years, girls need for loving and appropriate touch increases. Dads, it’s the most important thing you can do to deter sexual sin in your young girls. Honestly, its awkward for me right now because my eleven year old daughter is going through puberty, but I am learning to push past my feelings because of its important. When our girls learn to be touched appropriately by a loving and Godly person, they’ll be more prepared to say no to inappropriate touch from an ungodly person. Also research shows that little girls are often touched in a loving and appropriate way five times as often as boys, and yet the boys’ have the same need for touch. When boys are younger they are more affectionate but when they turn seven or eight, rather than a lot of hugs and kisses they may prefer a pat on the back or to wrestle, but the need is still there.
2. Abundant Time
How do kids spell love?” “Kids spell love t-i-m-e.”
Look at what Jesus does, 13People are bringing little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, but the disciples rebuke them. In other words, “He is too busy. He is too important. He’s got sick people to heal, teaching to do, don’t bother Him with children.” But Jesus was not happy about that. “14When Jesus saw this, he was indignant.” The Greek word translated indignant suggests very strong emotion. This is the only place in the Gospels where Jesus directed such strong anger at his disciples. [ii]
I’m not a big race car fan, but I have to admit I am very impressed with the pit stop. A good pit stop will last twelve to fifteen seconds. They change the tires, put in gas, change the oil, check the car, clean off the windshields and eat a Happy Meal, all in twelve to fifteen seconds! Today many parents are doing what could be called pit stop parenting. Sure we as parents spend more than twelve to fifteen seconds engaged with our children. But not much more, I read recently that the average dad in America spends thirty-seven seconds a day engaged in meaningful conversation with his children. I know I have plenty of excuses why I cannot spend more time with my kids, but they are not good excuses. The fact is I need to and desire to give my kids the time they need. Do kids need quality time or quantity time? Both!
Billy Graham, one of the all-time greats, when asked by a reporter, “If you had your life to do all over again, what would you do differently?” He didn’t say, “I would have done more crusades and led tens of thousands of more people to Christ.” He didn’t say, “I would have opened up another institute for pastors and Christian leaders and built more leaders to change the rest of the world.” He didn’t say, “I would have written another bestselling book that would have sold millions of copies and impacted millions of people’s lives.” What did he say? “What would you do differently if you had your life to do over again?” He said, “I would have spent more time with my kids.”
3. Encouraging Talk
We bless our kids with encouraging talk. “16And he took the children in his arms, he put his hands on them and he blessed them.” He lifted them up with His words. He didn’t say as I often do, “Hey, stop that! Cut that out! He didn’t say, “One, two, two and-a-half.” He blessed them, encouraged them. One of the most important things that we can do for our children is to speak words of life, rather than the words of death. Watch the words that you speak. If you are like me, I often can be characterized more by catching my kids doing something wrong, rather than catching them doing something right. Here’s what I want to be known to say, “I’m so proud of you son” “If I had to choose any girl in the world, I would choose you.” Encouraging words that lift up my kids.
Here’s something profound. In all of scripture, there is only one place that the audible voice of God is recorded in scripture speaking to Jesus. He probably spoke audibly more than this, but here’s the only place where its recorded. Jesus had just been baptized and a voice from Heaven said, “This is my Son whom I love, and with him I am well pleased” Matthew 3:17. The one time God speaks out loud for others to hear, he says, “I am so proud of my Son.” Heaven is breaking open for me to brag on Him. You are on the right track, Son. You have exceeded my greatest expectations. I want everyone to know, “I love you so-o-o much.”
Will you decide to bless your kids with your touch, time and talk? I have.
For more about the series, Leave a Legacy go to www.ridgefellowship.com