I can remember watching as a child a show called “Leave it to Beaver.” It’s a classic American television program about a boy named Beaver growing up in a wonderful middle class family during the 1950’s.
Beaver’s dad and mom, Ward and June, seemed to be perfect. Whenever Beaver got into a little mischief, or needed a little help understanding life, dad and mom were always there with hearts of love and endless wisdom to set Beaver straight. Ward and June were always dressed nice, the house was perfect and they always had the answers. They seemed to be the perfect parents. If life were only a 50’s television show!
Were Your Parents Perfect?
I often ask people, “Were your parents perfect?” Rarely does anyone say “yes”, most begin to laugh. It’s an unfair question, because none of us have had perfect parents or family life. In many cases, instead of getting encouragement and affirmation from parents, many children receive only negative criticism and few positive strokes to build them up.
Through research, Dr. Mark Virkler, a Christian author & teacher, believes that when people are engaged in normal conversation, they are negative 80% of the time. If this is true, then the majority of what we think and talk about is negative. What effect do you think this will have on others we interact with, especially our children?
The truth is, we all respond to positive affirmation more effectively than negative criticism. Some experts say that it takes 8 positive comments to undue the effects of 2 negative ones. If we are negative a majority of the time, then it will take special effort to undo our negative comments to others. Even our pets respond much better to positive re-enforced commands rather than negative ones!
There is a short Bible story about a man named Jabez in I Chronicles 4:9,10. No mention is made of his father; however, the story indicates that his mother had a difficult delivery with him. She named him Jabez which means “he will cause sorrow.” Doesn’t sound very positive, does it? Jabez cried out to God and asked God to “bless him, to enlarge his territory, to keep him from evil and not to cause pain. And God answered his prayer.”
I believe Jabez lacked positive affirmation from his parents, and that the cry of his heart was to be loved and affirmed. You see, what Jabez really wanted was to hear something like, “I love you and I am proud of you, you’re going to do just great in life!” God answered his prayer, and more importantly than receiving land and wealth, Jabez received the affirmation that he longed for.
Children Long for Our Blessing
Like Jabez, children and youth are longing to be “blessed” and affirmed by their parents. Too often, they don’t receive the power of blessing at home, and begin to look for the affirmation in peers or in other areas. Children need our time and positive input to be successful in life. They need to hear from us constantly, “I love you,” “You’re doing great,” “You do that really well.”
The Power of Blessing
Life and death are in the power of the tongue. We can choose to bless people with words of encouragement or choose to tear them down with negative, critical words. Our children and youth desperately need those who will speak “life” to them. There are children and youth all over our city needing adults to come alongside of them and to speak the power of blessing and affirmation to them. For many, this is all they need to turn things around in their lives and set them on the road to success in life.
It’s the power of blessing, and it’s a simple form of mentorship that has profound results in the lives of youth and adults.