VERY VISIBLE GRANDPARENTING – A Live Streamed Baby Blessing
Sunday I stood on the stage of our church facing 100 + people, their palms outstretched toward my son, his wife, 14 month Sierra and my husband and I holding a laminated picture of five month old Ivan who lives on the East coast. His parents were watching live via the internet. It was more than tears of joy I felt welling up. It was a deep honoring for all that all parents do and will do in the years to come. It was also a sigh remembering my own exhaustion and the sleepless nights that theses new moms and dads would have, and a knowing they will remember little and get beyond it as they get as old as we’ve become!
Reverend Deborah Johnson’s Children’s Blessing (© 2005 – Inner Light Ministries, Santa Cruz, California) is beautiful in both its simplicity and the depth of its challenge. Before she involved the entire congregation, she read Kahlil Gibran’s On Children from The Prophet. As a former archer she reminded us to think about the bending that needs to be done before releasing any arrow from a bow, or child to its destiny. Then we parents and any support family and friends present circled Sierra and Ivan, and repeated this PARENTS’ PLEDGE.
We pledge to love, nurture and protect you.
We will invest in your future, but never at the expense of living today.
We will support your authenticity and model to you how to be in a healthy relationship.
We will encourage you to dream large and to partner with God in the fulfillment of those dreams.
We will listen to you, learn from you, laugh and play with you.
Our love is unconditional and we will be there for you always.
Thank you for the privilege of growing with you.
Next all children and teenagers present joined us on the altar, another twenty or so, while the entire congregation repeated after Rev D this COMMUNITY PLEDGE:
We, your spiritual community, pledge to create a world that makes it easy for you to be all that you are intended to be.
We will mind our minds, be careful of what we create, and give you the freedom to grow. We will wage peace, protect the planet, and leave its resources in better shape than we found it.
Welcome to the world. We make a place for you.
Then everyone repeated this chant three times to the young ones:
Yes you can.
I believe in you.
I am never, ever, giving up on you.
Gratitude that filled my heart as we parted and baby Sierra drove back to Los Angeles with her mom and dad, and thankfulness that my husband and I had weathered those storms-filled adolescences years ago, and now all was well. What a world it would be should everyone provide this kind of support to the children we are passing the bond to.
“On the Children” by Khalil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.