How to Bless Your Homeschool Graduate
Bring the ancient Jewish tradition of the blessing into your modern homeschool graduation and impact your child in unforgettable ways.
Tell Aaron and his sons, "This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: 'The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.'" Numbers 6:23-26
There are many things we parents do to enrich the lives of our children. We provide shelter, food, clothing, and as homeschoolers, we have borne the responsibility for their education as well. But our children need more from us. They need our blessing.
The blessing is an ancient Jewish tradition recorded in the Bible. Two notable examples are found in Genesis 49:1-28 and Numbers 6:23–27. How can you bring the blessing into your modern homeschool graduation and impact your child in positive ways? Here are ideas that you can apply to your situation. Some of these may work for one-on-one times between you and your teen. Others may be better suited for a graduation ceremony or an intimate family celebration.
Honoring your child’s wishes is a way to bless your teen. As your senior wraps up this final and sometimes stressful senior year, listen to his heart. Hear his insecurities, dreams, and expectations. Button your lips and use your ears. The past seventeen years have been for teaching. Now it’s time for you to be a springboard for his own ideas. Do what you can to be on the same page with him to calm his fears and support his hopes.
He is grappling with choices about the future that include college, work, a gap year, choosing a major. He is dealing with more adult responsibilities and relationships. Don’t steamroll over your teen with your vision for a homeschool graduation and transition to college. Find out what his vision is and merge it with yours as best you can. How you approach this senior year of homeschool can affect your ongoing relationship with your adult child.
The traditional blessing was a time of prayer, and you can model your prayer in the same way. You have likely prayed for your child ever since she was born. But this graduation blessing prayer is one you will want to spend time composing, thinking about, maybe even crying over. Include these points:
- love and acceptance
- the high value of the child
- a vision for the child’s future
- your own commitment to continue the supportive relationship as a parent
The blessing is not a time to point out flaws, chastise, or correct. It’s about uplifting your teenager to the fullness of God’s grace.
Pour out your heart, rewrite it, put it aside, and rewrite it again. Then when the time is right, solemnly recite your prepared prayer over your child. Depending on your personal preference, you may want to lay hands on your child, stand over your child, or hold hands with your teen.
At a party or ceremony, you can invite family and friends to offer up prayers of blessing for your teenager. It’s very humbling to sit in a crowd where everyone is lifting up prayers of mercy for your life; it will be a life changing experience that will demonstrate the love and support your teen has among friends and family.
Be sure to alert your guests that there will be a brief time for prayers of blessing so they can prepare their thoughts and avoid rambling. If they want to compose them in letter form, the notes can be gathered and put into a special keepsake book that your teen can revisit months and years later.
For a less formal method of blessing, choose an item that can be displayed at a graduation party for guests to embellish with notes of encouragement. Scatter permanent markers around the object and remind guests to take a moment to leave their thoughts for the graduating homeschooler. These are potential keepsakes that can be written on by a large group:
- scrapbook or guestbook
- blanket or cloth that can be used to sew a blanket
- a blank photo matte
- a plain, white, cloth stuffed animal
- a tote bag or laundry sack
Foot Washing or Communion
At the other extreme of formality, a family for whom faith is very integral may want to incorporate the sacrament of communion or the ritual of foot washing into the graduation blessing. This type of ceremony is especially appropriate for a graduate who is planning on going into Christian service as a career.
Slideshow or Music
If words are not your forte, you may prefer to express the blessing through the visual delivery of a slideshow with accompanying music. Or if you have a performing skill, you may want to sing, play an instrument, or have other musicians come to offer a meaningful song by way of a blessing. The combination of melodies, harmonies, and spiritual lyrics can touch a heart like nothing else.
The best blessings we can find come from the words of the Bible itself. Instead of composing original prayers, you can identify and arrange an assortment of suitable verses and read those, possibly with brief personal commentary interspersed among the verses. Here are a few verses of blessing that are touching and would be appropriate for a homeschool graduation:
- Psalm 1:1
- Psalm 20:4
- Psalm 23: 1-4
- Jeremiah 17:7-8
- 2 Corinthians 9:8
- Galatians 5:22-23
- Philippians 4:7, 19, 23
Reading scripture is a great way to involved guests or family members who are nervous about thinking on their feet. Distribute verses and have them read the passages by way of blessing the graduate.