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Articles by Mark Merrill


Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill is the founder and president of Family First, a widely respected national non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening the family. read bio

The Blessing FAQ's

These are some of the common questions parents have about holding a blessing ceremony for their son or daughter.

When does the parental blessing occur?

It should probably occur sometime between the ages of 12 and 15, depending on the emotional maturity of the child. One sign will be when the child starts to take an interest in the opposite sex and begins to lose an interest in childish things. Another clear sign is when a child reaches puberty.

What does the Blessing ceremony really do for a child?

Weddings. Graduations. Award banquets. We remember those occasions in part because they were sealed by a ceremony and a celebration. Ceremonies often drive a stake in the ground memorializing a season or time in one's life. Memorable ceremonies do three things:

  1. Ascribe Value. They say to the person being honored, "You are important."  "This occasion is important."
  2. Employ Symbols. A ring, a pen, a necklace, a plaque, a certificate all provide recognition of the significance of an event.
  3. Launch a New Season in Life. They say, in essence, "From this day forward, things are going to be different." And they do it with celebration.

What makes the Blessing ceremony different from other ceremonies?

The Blessing establishes identity answering the question, "Who am I?"

Establishing purpose answers the question, "What am I here for?" Additionally, when we release our children into this new season in life, we are also releasing them to take on more responsibility and decision-making. There is something inside every child that makes him crave for a blessing from his parents. And without that blessing, many people spend a lifetime searching for identity and purpose in life. They are always trying to prove themselves worthy to their mom or dad. They are constantly seeking attention, affirmation, and acceptance--in all of the wrong places. They are often striving to prove their manhood or womanhood to themselves and to others through their sexual encounters, the way they dress, their work, the money they make, or by attempting daring feats.

Is it right to bless a rebellious, misbehaving child?

Yes. We need to separate identity and behavior. Remember, when we bless a child, we are giving them power to prosper in life, not condoning rebellion and disobedience. We are blessing them for who they are—a child of God created with infinite value, dignity and worth--not for what they do.

© Copyright 2011 by Mark W. Merrill. All rights reserved. For permission to publish any FamilyFirst material.   Mark W.Merrill is president of Family First, an independent, non-profit research andcommunications organization dedicated to strengthening the family.

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