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I woke up this morning thinking about the Bible verse “her children rise & call her blessed” (Proverbs 31:38). That verse made me think about the “Bendicion” tradition that Puerto Ricans (and other Latin countries) practice. For those who are not aware, most Puerto Rican children (and even adults) greet their parents & elders with “Bendicion” (translation: “blessing” in Spanish). It is a way for a child to request a blessing. The response from the adult is usually, “Dios te bendiga” (God bless you), or something along those lines. I’ll be quite honest, I have not instilled this practice on my two youngest boys & I never really enforced it on my oldest son, either. I know. I know. I can hear all the Puerto Ricans gasping in disbelief. I think that although the intentions behind this tradition is good, it is forced at times. I don’t think that any child should be forced to ask for a blessing when many children today do not even know what “bendicion” means or why they are saying it. I think that many adults demand this from children & even get angry & offended when children do not greet them in this manner; I believe that is wrong. Some adults need to check their egos. I know that when I was growing up, I was surely reprimanded if I forgot to say “bendicion” to one of my aunts or uncles: “Mira, esta! No me pidio la bendicion!!” I mean, it was angry-ville to the 1000th power. If you want to bless a child, or pray for a child, just do so. By no means am I saying that I am against this tradition. Even today as a grown woman, I greet my mother, my aunts, and other family members with “Bendicion”. I just think that children should understand what they are saying & why. We should bless our children (or any child) every day, multiple times, as a matter of fact, whether they greet us this way or not. I don’t leave my house & head to work without blessing my children & they don’t have to say “bendicion” to me. I’m their mother. It is my duty & my pleasure to bless them & pray for them. I do it because I love them with all my heart & my blessings towards them come from the heart. I’m not just saying “Dios te bendiga” rhetorically. I am consciously saying “God bless you & keep you safe always”. I think it is a positive tradition that can have a more powerful impact if parents explained it to their children. I haven’t really explained it to my youngest children but I would like to do so simply because it is part of our heritage. I won’t, however, force them to do it. I don’t have that “well, I don’t know why I do it. I just know my mother did it & her mother did it, so I do it, too” mentality. Negative. I’m not that “guy”. Yes, the “Bendicion” greeting is also a sign of respect & Lord knows that many children today lack that respect. However, I think that the best way to teach a child about respect is by openly speaking to them and not forcing them to do things that they do not understand. Let’s put the smart devices down & have open dialogue with our children about things like this. They’ll be better for it.
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