I looked "bless" up in the dictionary and found the following:
1: to hallow or consecrate by religious rite or word
: to hallow with the sign of the cross
: to invoke divine care for <bless your heart> —used in the phrase bless you to wish good health especially to one who has just sneezed
: to confer prosperity or happiness upon
I was amused at #3. We women especially are so guilty of starting a comment about another with "Bless their heart"--you know how it goes-"Bless her heart, she has the worst luck when shopping. Why else would she be wearing that outfit?" I will admit, I did not really realize I was invoking divine care upon anyone by using this phrase. Perhaps that helps with the not so kind intentions at times.
The blessing I am speaking of is covered in 3, 4, 5 & 6. My asking for God's protection is certainly a good thing--as well as His preservation. Our children benefit the greatest from the fourth and fifth. When we stop and praise them--giving them glory for their accomplishments, and speaking with approval of their very being, it is a vital and important part of parenting.
Certainly we all desire happiness for our children and prosperity when in the right venue is an added blessing. Prosperity in their relationships with others and God are one of my continuous prayers for my children. Wealth and material possessions are only temporary, but real wealth is measured in the breadth and depth of their relationships.
It is wonderful to pray God's blessing upon your children, but just as important is the audible verbal blessing to them. They need to hear the words. Our sense of self is very closely tied to the approval and love of our parents. A lifetime of struggle can follow when a child never feels the love and approval of their parents.
I have made it a practice to tell my children how proud I am of them, how much I love them, and point out their many accomplishments. When given the opportunity, I tell THEM how wonderful they are---out loud--with words--to them. It makes my heart sing when I have the opportunity to do this.
It dawned upon me today as I told #1 good-bye how they have blessed me over and over. How they have affirmed me--told me how much they love me, and how proud they were of me. They have blessed me - out loud--verbally---and it warms me to the depths of my soul. A blessing is such an important thing---and as we bless others--they will bless us---what a beautiful circle---a circle of love.
"I pray that the Lord will bless and protect you,
and that he will show you mercy and kindness.
May the Lord be good to you and give you peace."