I leaned over and gave her a gentle hug, kiss, and told her to be good. My intentions to guide my young daughter were pure, but what I heard next forever changed how I send her off into the world.
The line of other parents saying I’ll be back soon, have fun, and be good is a typical sight on any given Sunday. We all drop our littles in the color-filled room designed just for them, so they can play, sing, color and learn during the church service. This time, something happened that has stuck with me for close to 4 years now. It was when I noticed a mom kneel down to face her little girl, gave her a hug, and whispered to her, be a blessing. A tender reminder within a simple moment shared between a mama and her daughter. It was not meant for show or for anyone to hear, but it reverberated in my heart.
What did that even mean — to be a blessing? I didn’t know, but it sounded beautiful. It sounded way better than be good. It sounded like something I wanted my child to hear from me; something that I needed to hear for me.
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.
Some may say it’s “do unto others as you’d have them do to you” but I believe it’s more than that. I believe it starts with the heart. We can do nice things for others but it doesn’t make us a nice person. Being able to “bless” others with “things” doesn’t make us a blessing.
So what does?
Love others without condition, extend grace and put others before ourselves. Even when it’s uncomfortable, hard, and goes against our own desires.
What are the reasons behind your actions? Recognition? Praise? In our family, we want to bless others because God has blessed us. We want to show God’s love to others through our actions. We want to bless in hope that people won’t see us, but instead, see Jesus!
In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Some of you may be thinking…ok, ok…but I need somewhere to start. If our offerings aren’t monetary or tangible items, then what can we do to be a blessing?
Just for you, I’ve come up with 4 easy ways to start.
1.) Ask Your Child
Yes, you read that right. Even at a young age, they’ll astonish you by what they can come up with. The depth of the conversation will depend on the age of the child, but their insight will be pure. With a preschooler, you may ask, “What is one nice thing we could do for someone this week? Who would you like to do that nice thing for?” With older children, you may wish to ask them how they’d like to bless others together as a family. Then listen!
Pray for others together. There is something so innocent and straight to the point about a child’s prayers. Have your child think of someone who they feel needs a blessing or prayer. Pray as a family. Let God lead you, ask God to lead you. He will!
3.) Put Others Before Yourself
Blessing someone else is a selfless act. How do we teach these young hearts about selflessness? With the younger ones, you could ask questions like: How would you feel if you had forgotten your snack? What should we do if someone looks like they need a friend to play with? With older ones it may look similar, but with more advanced issues. How would you feel if no one sat by you at lunch or no one talked to you? What do you think Jesus would have done in this situation? Point out the needs of other people so they can problem solve, and bless.
4.) Practice What You Preach
Your kids are watching you. They hear what you say and they see what you do. Be an example for your children and be patient with them, be kind, send hand-written thank you notes, be loving to your friends, love those who aren’t your friends, be a good listener. The list can go on and on! Model behaviors of blessing others so that they may walk behind you in your footsteps.
There may be times when being a blessing will mean giving money, clothes, and other items. Other times it will mean befriending and loving someone who may seem unfriendly and hard to love. A simple act of kindness like looking up and saying hello may seem like no big deal to us but could alter the day of that person more than we can ever know. Being a blessing will always mean to put others before yourself and love them as Jesus loves us; it always starts with a grace-filled heart.
Will you be a blessing today?
Leave a comment with a simple way we can be a blessing to the people in our lives.