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One of the treasured memories of growing up in a French family in Quebec was the New Year's Day "blessing."

All the children would gather at the house of the eldest patriarch in the family (like a great-granddad for example) and he would bless the entire family including wives, in-laws, and all. In our home, my dad would bless me with the words, "I bless you my son, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," as I knelt before him.

I have not repeated this tradition in my own home because of the many Roman Catholic connotations attached to it. Lise and I have chosen to pray with our children and offer them our blessing in this way. But I do miss some of the valuable lessons taught by this ancient custom among my relatives. For example, when was the last time you saw children (even grown ones) kneeling before their father to show their respect and submission to him? And how many dads realize and accept the great burden of responsibility for the spiritual leadership of their families?

Perhaps we can devise a way to incorporate these values and still impart the "blessing" that all Godly parents want to pass on. As for me, I say to my children for the New Year, "I pray that you receive the blessings of Christ, you bless me with your continued faith in Him." Love, Dad.