How important is it to have your father’s blessing? Very! It was so important that Esau wept over being cheated out of it by his brother Jacob. It was so important that it was the last thing Jacob gave to each of his 12 sons on his deathbed. It was so important that, prior to doing any ministry, God blessed His Son, Jesus, at His baptism. So, if the blessing of the father is that important, why don’t we do it for our sons and daughters? What does it mean to bless your child and what are the benefits to that child in receiving it? Finally, how do we do it? What are the practicalities of blessing your child?
Why don’t we fathers bless our children with a verbal pronouncement of blessing upon them? My guess is that we have never been taught by our fathers or our pastors how important it is or we’ve never been told how to do it. I’ve never heard a sermon on the importance of fathers blessing their children. Perhaps Christians don’t do it because they don’t believe it matters. It does. If it mattered to God and He blessed His Son, Jesus Christ, it should matter to us, Christ’s followers.
What does it mean to bless your child and what are the benefits to the child who receives the blessing? The Hebrew word for “bless” is barachah. Barachah means “to bless, to congratulate, to praise, to tell the greatness of, to tell the wonder of.” What does it mean to bless your child? It means to tell your child, "Thank you for being my child" and to tell that child how great and wonderful he/she is in your sight. Isn't that great? That's what barachah is all about. But that's not all. That's just the definition.
What are the benefits to the one who is blessed? They are numerous but the most important is that the blessing of the father is critical for healthy self-worth. The father’s blessing is not based on performance. It's not, “this child pleases me because of what he does or because of how good he is.” He pleases me because of who he is. The blessing gives a child two things he or she needs to hear most from their dad, a secure identity (you're my son/daughter, you're no one else's and I love you) and it gives a secure worth (I love you and I'm well pleased with you). The identity and the worth of the child are unconditional. They're not rooted in performance, and they're not rooted in behavior. It is critical for your kids to know that they are unconditionally validated in their identity, secure in their worth, and loved unconditionally. They need to hear that from their dad. This is the father’s privilege and responsibility. If you don’t have a father to bless you, a father-substitute such as your pastor or grandfather will work
How exactly do you do it? Because the blessing of the father is both a pronouncement and a prediction, it involves telling your sons and daughters, “I love you.” Do you know how significant those three little words “I love you” are? They are critical to the self-worth and self-esteem of that child. God the Father says "This is my beloved Son." I love Him. Declared love validates the identity of the child.
Besides being a pronouncement, the formal blessing is also a prediction. Take a look at Genesis 27:28-29. Isaac blesses Jacob in those couple of verses and he asks God to give Jacob three things: prosperity, mastery, and authority. A blessing involves prediction. It describes what the father would like to see God do for that child. Does that mean we are to become prophets? No. What we are doing is asking God to do His will in the life of that child and if He should deem it His will, we desire that He bless our child by doing this or that. And typically, most of the predictive element of the father's blessing is rather generalized. It provides a target for the child as the child grows up based upon the strengths the Dad sees in the child.
So, in summary, what is the blessing? The blessing is a formal pronouncement of the secure identity and worth of that child. It's a prediction of the father's desire for that child. What about practicalities? As mentioned, the blessing is typically performed by the patriarch of the family. Children need the blessing of their fathers. It is God's plan for fathers because the way a child views his earthly father greatly colors how he views his heavenly Father. When you, dads, take your children aside and bless them, you turn your heart toward them. They, in turn, will reciprocate and respond back to you and begin to love God, their heavenly Father. If we would have our children walk in straight paths with God we need to start with blessing them.
How often should it be done? The formal blessing should only be given once. Informal blessings can happen daily. When should it be done? The formal blessing would be a "rite of passage" as the child enters adulthood. It's regarded as permanent and irreversible. Giving the blessing requires physical contact, forethought, and prayer. In Genesis 48:8-14, Grandfather Jacob blessed his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh. Jacob did four things for them, a) he kissed them, b) he embraced them, c) he laid his hands upon their heads, and d) he prayed over them. I believe that's very important. Our children crave physical touch from us as their parents. There's a need to lay hands upon their heads as you bless them. That's important. Even Jesus received a physical touch when He was blessed. The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended from heaven and rested upon Him. That was the Father's touch upon His Son.
Fathers, bless your children! It's important!