Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance Revised & Updated by John Trent and Gary Smalley

John Trent and Gary Smalley in The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance present the principle and practical details of providing blessing especially for our children.  The authors note the need of all humans to be accepted and the power of blessing in giving this gift of acceptance and love to our children as they grow into adulthood.  Trent and Smalley look to Genesis 27 and the retelling of Isaac’s unintentional blessing Jacob instead of his oldest son Esau.  Using this as the model of blessing and providing historical context to blessing in a Jewish world view the authors present their readers the five elements of blessing:
            “1. Meaningful and appropriate touch
              2. A spoken message
              3. Attaching high value to the one being blessed
              4. Picturing a special future for him or her
              5. An active commitment to fulfill the blessing (Trent and Smalley, 45)”               
The author’s argue that a blessing consisting of these five elements will help children to more fully emerge as balanced adults who can then spread the blessing to others including their own children.  Blessing creates a legacy.  The authors then document the devastating impacts of when blessing is withheld from children, the obstacles to blessing in some households (such as children of divorce and death or desertion) and how to overcome obstacles to provide blessing.  Trent and Smalley conclude their text by providing examples of the ultimate blessing expert in action, Jesus. 

Over 15 years ago my grandmother sent me a letter while I was in college.  In that letter she told me of her pride in me and how special I was.  Additionally, she spoke about the future she expected I would have.  A few years later, she passed away.  It was one of the last significant interactions I had ever had with my grandmother, with who I was very close.  Throughout her life my grandmother with me applied some the elements of blessing in our interactions.  And this letter served as the capstone to that blessing.  Today, the letter is framed and sits in a place of honor in my home office.  As I look back, she was just one of several relatives (an uncle and my wife’s grandmother immediately come to mind) and teachers who most likely unknowingly worked to speak blessing into my life.  And that’s not even counting my parents who also spoke messages into my life of blessing.  Where I have confidence and success today, is largely as an impact of that blessing.  As I consider this in light of The Blessing, I wonder how much more powerful could these gifts have been if the blessings had been intentional, because honestly they have a powerful hold on me today even as accidents.  And I am lead to consider how can I even more intentionally speak blessing into the lives of my children, family members and children in my ministry today?  The blessing as I can see in my own life is a powerful tool that cannot be ignored.

This text is an updated version of Trent’s and Smalley’s The Gift of the Blessing in honor of its 25th anniversary.  Along with reissuing the book, the author’s have created a website at with supporting video and text materials.  Throughout the book and the site, they call for parents to accept the Blessing Challenge, one million adults pledging to bless another.  This book and challenges helps to remind us that God has spoken into his story,
 2-3 I'll make you a great nation
      and bless you.
   I'll make you famous;
      you'll be a blessing.
   I'll bless those who bless you;
      those who curse you I'll curse.
   All the families of the Earth
      will be blessed through you (Gen 12:2-3, The Message)

We have been blessed and because of it we must bless!      
Review Copy Provided by Thomas Nelson

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