Reviewed by Melissa J.
The Family Blessing by Rolf Garborg
"...a book that should be given to every newly married couple or expectant parents. Turning our homes into places of blessing can do nothing short of impacting our world with blessing as the ripple effect extends beyond our doors and into the lives of others."
We live in a world
that is more about cursing than it is about blessing. Vulgar language
emits from mouths
that reflect angry hearts and wounding
words flow from tongues without second thought. This isn’t reserved
just for the public arena. Our homes and families are filled with this
tragedy as well. Enter, The Family Blessing by Rolf Garborg, Gift Edition.
The book arrives in a cream colored cardboard box with the gold embossed title peering through a square on the front. The aesthetic quality of this gift edition does not disappear once the book has been slipped from it’s cardboard box. The Family Blessing is contained within a hard cover that is cream colored with a filigree imprint at the top and bottom, wrapping around the back. A fabric, in-sewn bookmark adds to the quality appearance and there is a page in which an inscription can be written.
This gift edition is about much more than the appearance however. It is the quality of the message that will cause people to want to purchase it.
Blessing children was a matter-of-fact ritual that took place in the Old Testament and Rolf Garborg urges Christian parents to bring it back.
There is a delineation between the Old Testament word for “blessing” and the New Testament word. Berekah, from the Old Testament, is a “transmittal of God’s goodness and favor, usually through the spoken word and often with the accompanying act of laying on hands”. Eulogeo, on the other hand, as found in the New Testament, means to speak well of and to express praise.
Both types of blessing are needed, Garborg tells us, but his focus is Berekah, as seen in Numbers 6:24-26. There is a power that comes with our words. Proverbs 18:21 states this clearly. With this truth in mind, what can be more powerful than speaking blessings into our children’s lives on a daily basis?
This is not just an OT concept. In Mark 10 we have a beautiful picture of Jesus blessing the children as they surrounded Him. We don’t know what words He spoke but the fact he remains, “He blessed them.” As earthly representations of our Heavenly Father’s love for our children, can we do any less?
As I read the book, a thought kept circling through my mind. “This isn’t a magic formula though, and I think a lot of people are going to see it as such.” My concerns were addressed the further I read. Mr Garborg takes care to point out that there is no magic the comes from saying a blessing. However, based on Scriptural truths that speak of the power of words, neither can we deny that it has a place in our family’s lives.
Not only do we have Biblical examples to follow, The Family Blessing contains personal testimonies of adults who received blessings from their parents as they passed through childhood and adolescence. Giving blessings to our children can result in a sense of being loved unconditionally and can help them nestle deep into the belief that they are secure in that love. Just the daily practice of a parent laying their hand on their child’s head and repeating a blessing can instill, day by day, another brick of “I am loved and secure” in that child’s life.
The focus on the book is family, but Mr Garborg reminds us that our world is crying out for blessings as well. He gives us the challenge that the way we live can be a blessing or a curse. As awkward as it may seem at first, we may be presented with occasions to bless others verbally. If we have the courage to respond in obedience, our words have the potential to release a healing into their life that may have been desperately needed after a lifetime of curses.
What do we use for a blessing? We can create our own or we can use Scripture. The Bible provides us with several passages that can be spoken over our children. Some may choose the same blessing for their daily tradition. Others may choose to cycle through different Scriptures as the days pass. Still other parents may decide to write out their own blessing. The specific words that are used don’t matter. The act of the heart that is speaking the blessing, does.
The Family Blessing, Gift Edition, is a book that should be given to every newly married couple or expectant parents. Turning our homes into places of blessing can do nothing short of impacting our world with blessing as the ripple effect extends beyond our doors and into the lives of others.
Blessed people bless others.
Melissa J. Carswell: Melissa is a Board Certified Christian Counselor. However, due to the appearance of a little bundle of Miracle in the past year, the counseling practice is now on indefinite hold. Instead, Melissa has entered the world of freelance writing from home. She is currently one of the content writers for TotallyHer.com (to be launched in September of 2008). Melissa has a passion for mentoring teen girls and young women and does so whenever possible. Her heart longing, along with her husband, is to use her education and credentials someday to have a home full of abandoned, abused, and terminally ill childen. They are still waiting for God's hand to unfold that particular chapter of their lives. When Melissa isn't changing diapers, doing laundry, cooking meals, mentoring the afore-mentioned young women, tending to her garden, being her husband's biggest fan, and soaking in every cuddly moment with her daughter, she reads and she writes. It is not unusual to see 2-3 books laying around the house at any given time and the hard drive to her computer houses several partially-written manuscripts to the secret dreamed-of-published books Melissa hopes for in the future. You can check out A Weak Rose here.