When our kids were little we would often use real life situations to explain various concepts to them in a way that made it easier for them to understand. For example we might teach cleanliness by showing how to pick up toys and put them away. We might teach them the concept of love by giving them a hug and using affirming words.
One of my favorite concepts to show by example was the idea of a blessing. Not the dinner prayer kind of blessing, although we did that too, but the act of being a blessing to one another. This form of blessing can be defined as “anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune; a special benefit or favor.” One of the most common ways I taught this concept to my kids when they were young was to make their bed’s for them. We taught our kids to make their own beds when they were four. We also taught them to make it as soon as they got out of bed. Most of the time, this is what they did (still do, by the way), but sometimes they would be running late, or would forget. On these days I would often slip into their room and make the bed for them. Then when they came back in and noticed, I would tell them that I had decided to give them an unexpected blessing. No big deal. Just a small act of kindness that always produced happiness and thankfulness.
Through the years, we have continued this idea. My son may mow the lawn when it’s his sister’s turn because he knows she has a lot of homework to finish. My daughter may do a load of laundry for me when she notices I’m busy with other things. I think this is such an important concept to not only teach your kids, but to put into practice on a daily basis. Not only does an unexpected blessing bring someone happiness, it can also make a burden someones carrying seem a little lighter. No big deal. But yet…it might be a big deal to someone.
One of the biggest, and perhaps most unexpected, results of showing someone an unexpected blessing is the blessing I get in return. It feels good to show kindness to others. There is an infectious quality about it. The more we bless, the more blessed we feel. The more blessed we feel, the easier it is to feel like being a blessing to others. I need to remember this when I am tempted to feel cranky about being asked to wash something at 10 pm for the next morning, or to drop off the overdue library book even though I’m heading in the opposite direction. In making the choice to bless others I am giving myself a blessing as well. And an unexpected blessing can feel like a surprise gift. Let’s give someone an unexpected blessing today.