A Sweet and Wise Blessing To Give Your Children,

which I heard from my friend Fred Bernstein, who says it to his three-year-old twins: "May you be who you are, and may you be blessed in all that you are."

Like many such blessings, this one's merits go to the attitude it instills in the speaker, at least as much as in what it conveys to the target.

Bob Flynn (mail):
Sorry to be a kill joy, but I don't like it. Too vague and mushy.

"May you be who you are, and may you be blessed in all that you are."

And if the 3-year olds are mean and lazy? Is this some sort of blessing?

How about this:

"You are both good boys and your mother and I love you a lot"
1.5.2006 4:19pm
Noel Magee:
I've done a variant of Bob's suggestion. Sometimes even going so far as to recite a list of the people who love my kids. I agree that the suggestion by EV is likely to be utterly useless, especially for younger children. It is not clear enough.

There are often times when I revert to my native traditionalist, "Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite." Although I do hope the sentiment remains somewhat out of step with the reality my children experience.
1.5.2006 4:40pm
Neal R. (mail):
I like Bob Flynn's blessing better. I don't know what could "instill" more in a speaker than to tell his kids he loves them. It's also a bonus that the kids will have some idea what the heck Dad is talking about.
1.5.2006 4:40pm
John Jenkins (mail):
Geez, this is a tough crowd around here. Somehow I don't doubt that the father in question tells his kids he loves them.
1.5.2006 4:44pm
Dustin (mail):
It's great to tell kids that they should be whatever they want to be so long as they put their best into it.

That may not be exactly what EV meant by blessed, but it's what I would mean.
1.5.2006 4:47pm
If X goes around telling people to "Be who you are," then it is safe to assume that X subscribes to a philosophy holding that each person's truest, most ultimate nature is good, and that people who are mean and lazy are not in touch with their true selves.

It's a pretty common philosophy, and I don't find it vague or mushy. Probably over the head of a three year old though.
1.5.2006 5:35pm
Mary (mail):
Beautiful blessing!
Fit for a 3-year-old, or a 93-year-old. Becaue really isn't that what life is? Just an all too brief journey to become ourselves... "and know they love you."
1.5.2006 6:13pm
lucia (mail) (www):
I think it's a beautiful blessing too. Accepting, encouraging and loving at the same time.

Sure a 3 year old might not grasp all the nuances, but they'll grasp the gist of it. I'm sure the blessing will be repeated, and will mean more and more over time.
1.5.2006 6:29pm
Article III Clerk:
Telling children to be who they are is not a blessing but a curse--an almost certain recipie for social and criminal sanctions in their adult life, should they take the advice to heart. It is, of course, devoid of any notion of what they "should" be and represents the worst sort of therapeutic tripe.
1.6.2006 9:24am
fred (mail):
"May you be who you are, and may you be blessed in all that you are."

What if your kid is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
1.6.2006 9:29am
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Shouldn't one really be encouraging one's children to "be what they should be"?

The Greek root of the word education means to come out of oneself.

They should be good, smart, knowledgeble, and hard working whether or not they "are" that way naturally.
1.6.2006 6:34pm
Robert Schwartz (mail):
The traditional blessing of the children is done as part of Shabbat dinner on Friday night. Transliterations and translations of the blessings are available on many web sites and in most comprehensive siddurim. Try this web site for example.
1.6.2006 11:25pm