The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Leaving home

Young people leaving home for college or to live on their own need a blessing that expresses God's unconditional love and affirms their continuing ties with home and family. We enjoyed a wonderful moment when Kirsten, our first-born, was preparing to leave for college.

Jacque, my wife, prepared Kirsten's favorite meal. I wrote a special prayer we used before the evening meal that asked God's blessing and expressed our feelings about the changes occurring in our family.

After eating and clearing the table, we gathered in the living room. I lit a candle and invited Kirsten to kneel. Each member of the family placed a hand on Kirsten's head, and I offered this blessing:

"Kirsten, ... even before you had a name you were loved. From the day of your birth we have shared with you who we are, whose we are, what we value and believe. The beautiful young person you have become tells us it has all been worthwhile.

You will always be our daughter, but more and more you will be on your own, living out your dream for your life with integrity. As you do, know deep within your heart that we believe in you, respect you and pray God's blessing upon you.... As you step into the larger world, know that you will never be outside of our love and


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