Growing up in rural Massachusetts, Judaism held a much different context in my life than it does now. Until college, I did Judaism, mimicking the motions of being a "good Jew." I didn't combine milk and meat in my house because my father told me not to.
It is Jewish custom to bless children each Shabbat and on every festival holiday. The customary blessing that parents bestow on their children on Shabbat and holidays is specific to boys and girls.