Written by: Rev. Nathan Hill
Just over four years ago I wrote an article called “Blessings for Our Kids.” In that article I reflected on the significance of the verbal blessings that are passed from one generation to another in the Old Testament of the Bible. For example, Isaac blesses Jacob prior to his death and Moses shares pivotal words with Joshua when he hands over the task of leadership. Bearing this in mind, how does this notion of blessings for our kids pertain to our present culture?
Every time I think about this topic I have a somewhat morbid mental image of my aged self lying in a hospital bed and requesting some time alone with each of my children to pass the mantle of family and faith on to them and thus to the next generation. Then I realize that there is no need to wait until that moment to speak prayers and blessings of encouragement for our children. All milestones in life are opportunities for significant moments to occur much like the Isaac-Jacob and Moses-Joshua moments. The moment our children are born, when they begin school, when they graduate, their marriage, their children, when they become grandparents…and ultimately the moment when they will have carry on life without us and become the matriarchs and patriarchs of our family.
In the four years that have passed since I wrote the initial post my family has changed significantly—my two oldest kids have grown and started school, and we have added two young kids to the mix! So, with that being said, let me give you a glimpse into the thoughts and blessings that I have in mind for my kids right now.
Benjamin: Your name means “right hand of the father” and you are certainly my right hand in so many ways—I haven’t mowed the lawn without you since you were two! You have made life happier and more complete than I ever imagined. I’ve told you many times that God has blessed you with a silly side and with lots of words. Embrace your design, but also never stop pursuing self-discipline—your wealth of words will mean the most when they are shared with God’s timing. I love the way you talk with me about your faith in God and always try to learn more. I also love the soft heart that you have, one that looks out for those who are hurting. You are already a capable and strong influence in our family and on your brothers and sisters and I love you deeper than the ocean and taller than the mountains, my eldest son Benjamin.
Sophia: Your name means ‘wisdom’ and this was no accident; you are a wealth of intellect that is already being recognized by your teachers and classmates. I pray that you will apply your vast intellect in the most excellent ways—that is the definition of wisdom, and that is your name. You are determined and steady, a trendsetter not just by charisma but also by how you live life every day. I love your snuggles and your smiles, and I love your fierce determination when you have decided to do something. You’ve been pressed, but not crushed; struck down, but not destroyed; you are blessed, and God’s promises are made apparent within you. May the joy of the Lord be your strength and may you always remember God’s work in your life. You are my lovely princess, my eldest daughter Sophia.
Spencer: This is the first time I’ve written a blessing for you, as you were only in our thoughts the last time I penned such words. Your constant happiness and soft/tender heart are the highlight of your personality. Your big brown eyes are so bright with joy and your greetings when I walk through the door are so very enthusiastic. I enjoy watching you grow into a ‘big boy’ and take steps forward that just months ago you were not ready for. I love your manners and your energy—although sometimes it needs to be redirected—and I will always remember our song—“Daddy Love”—and the prayers that we share at bedtime. You will always capture a special place in my heart, my little son and close buddy, Spencer.
Grayson: You’ve just barely begun your time here on earth, but how patient and kind you are to your mom and I. I love your smiles and the way that you embrace my silly songs and even sillier nicknames—Dudley the Dragon-Wagon. You are charting your own course right now, thriving and hitting your own milestones in your own time. You are a delight to have around and it is fun to take you with us still on date nights and church events. I look forward to watching you grow and take your place in our family, my youngest and final child and son, Grayson.
Babies #1 & #2: How confusing it still is to know how to speak of the two of you, babies #1 and #2. We tried out names but have not really used them in recent years. You are the two that we never knew, the two that our other kids never knew. Yet, you were there, that is sure—we have the images and the positive test to prove it. If the two of you were here today you would be older than Spencer, yet younger than Sophia. How fascinating that would be! Your place in our family may not be remembered by many, but I will think of you each time I notice the gap between the older and the younger children in our family—babies #1 and #2, you are that gap, and I will remember your short weeks shared with us.
Pray blessings for your children, continually encourage them in spiritual pursuits, and make sure to leave with them significant moments of wisdom and faith for all the days that they will live after our loving and prayerful direction has passed on.
Nathan is a husband to Mandy, and Daddy to Ben (6) Sophia (5), Spencer (3) and Grayson (infant). Nathan grew up in Nova Scotia but currently resides in Southern Ontario where he is the youth pastor at a local church. He has a B.Sc with first class hours in Microbiology and Immunology from Dalhousie University and a M.Div from Acadia University where he obtained the silver medal in theology. He enjoys reading, writing, teaching and watching legal/crime dramas with his wife on Netflix.