Is It Time You Started Blessing Your Children?

water-blessing-kids

Do you give your children blessings?

I was speaking to a group of parents recently and mentioned how I bless my kids with holy water every night.

I got blank stares.

“Do you bless your kids holy water?” I asked.

Blank stares again. They’d never heard of it.

Most of the time we think of priests giving blessings. And, of course, that’s what they do.

However, as a parent, you can use blessings too. Fathers and mothers have the spiritual authority to bless their children.

Here’s a few thoughts on the blessings of blessing your children. Hopefully, by the end of this post, I’ll have you stopping by the parish office on your way home to pick up some holy water and start today.

How to bless your kids

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

Have you ever heard a priest give this blessing?

When I was at Franciscan University, then president Fr. Michael Scanlan used to give this blessing at the end of every Mass.

It’s called the Aaronic Blessing and it comes from Numbers 6:22-27. A little after this verse, God says Aaron (the High Priest and Moses‘ brother) should use it to “put my [God’s] name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

To be honest, I heard about it from a talk Jeff Cavins once did. He once mentioned using the Aaronic Blessing with his daughters everyday. I thought I should do that too.

However, I um…never use the Aaronic blessing. It’s wonderful but a bit long (not that you shouldn’t use it if you’d like to).

I have a simpler approach. I put some holy water on my thumb, trace the sign of the cross on their foreheads, and say, “God bless you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Quick and easy.

A few thoughts on holy water

Holy water is powerful stuff! St. Teresa of Avila loved holy water.

She was often bothered by demons and sometimes could even see them. The name of Jesus usually worked to shoo them away, but sometimes it didn’t. When nothing else did the trick, she sprinkled holy water on them. Even the peskiest demons would flee.

You think there’s no demons trying to mess with you? Think again. As a Catholic parent, you should always have holy water handy. Bless your kid’s bed, windows, closet…everything! And especially bless them.

I don’t recommend the little ceramic holy water fonts. They’re pretty but the water evaporates too quickly and you’re left with a dirty residue at the bottom. The worst is when it’s almost out and you dip your finger into a gritty mess.

I use the standard plastic bottles that have a spout at the top and say Holy Water. You can get them really cheap at any Catholic bookstore and they work the best.

When should you bless them?

I bless my kids at night before they go to sleep. I’ve done that since they were both infants. They can’t remember a time when I didn’t do this, and even the 11 year old asks for it every night.

I thought they’d get tired of me using the holy water to bless them but it’s never happened. A few times I’ve even run out and just given them a “dry blessing.” They called me on it and asked for the water.

One thing I’ve never done, but want to start doing, is blessing them before they leave the house in the morning. It hit me lately that I should be calling down the Lord’s protection on them before they leave the safe-haven of home and go out into the big bad world. And that’s really what it’s all about isn’t it?

Parenting takeaway

Should you start blessing your children? Absolutely!

Blessings are an indispensable way to exercise your spiritual authority as a parent. They’re quick, simple, and powerful. Just like Aaron, you can put the name of the Lord on your kids so God will bless and protect them.

Your children need protection against the forces seeking to turn them from holiness and spiritual freedom. You are your child’s guardian, not only in the physical world, but in the spiritual world as well.

Besides, if it’s good enough for St. Teresa, it’s good enough for everyone.

P.S.

Do you bless your kids with holy water? What do you think? Tell me about your experiences with blessings in the comments. If you’ve never done this with your kids, tell me know about how you plan to start.

This post originally appeared on CatholicMom.com as part of my Parents as First Educators series.

Photo Credit: Sree_ via Compfight cc

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Comments

  1. I started blessing my younger kids (dry) every night. I thought the older ones were too old to start something like that and they wouldn’t like it. One night, big sister was putting them to bed and let on that the big kids didn’t do that. So one of the little ones blessed her instead 😀 Now it is a whole family tradition.

  2. As a child, everynight at bedtime, my parents and siblings would say “Good night and God Bless You” to each other. This was always a very comforting practice for me and still is with my children and husband. I do like the idea of using holy water! Thanks, Marc

    • That sounds like a great practice Diane. I’m glad you liked the holy water idea, too. I’m finding a lot of people are doing the blessings but never really considered using holy water.

  3. Good article. I am looking for a blessing for say to my kids in the morning, when they head to school. Maybe I will just use the Numbers 6 one. I think it would be good for you to outline what a blessing is, compared to prayer. Blessing = God’s power coming down. Prayer = talking to God, supplication, etc.

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