Children Have To Be Carefully Taught and Nurtured


Stella and I have a blended family and are especially blessed with sixteen great grandchildren. Last July Max was born.

On October of this year, Jaxon and Luke were born. Both weighed 7 pounds and were 19 inches long. They live about 2500 miles apart. We have three more great grandchildren due in 2016.

Recently I had a great experience. I was able to hold our sixteenth great grandchild in my arms. It was an epiphany.

Those who profess to know, say that babies in the womb are influenced by their mother’s mood and behavior. I accept their wisdom.

Psychologists affirm that babies from birth to about 6 years of age, learn more than any other comparable time in their lives.

One of my medical doctors told me the other day that his one year old son was like a sponge. He soaked up, absorbed, everything he sees and hears and feels. Typical of all newborns.

It’s very understandable when Child Psychologists tell us that babies have two basic fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises or voices.

From whom do they get the information that they absorb? Obviously they get most from Mother and Dad. Examples. If Momma dislikes baby food and voices it, who will copy it? The sponge of course. If Dad hates changing the dirty diaper and voices it, who will hate being changed? The sponge, of course.

If Mother and Dad, both express verbally and physically, that baby is loved and special, who will benefit? You know the answer.

Caressing, holding and expressing love, will encourage self-worth.

I love the statement by Duke Ellington. He said that his feet never touched the ground until he was seven (7) years old. He was being held.

As a minister, I was often confronted with a fussy baby during its baptism. After holding them a few minutes, they became very quiet. No one ever found out what I was doing to the baby. While I prayed for the child, I very gently caressed its ear. Why? Because the vagus nerve is nearest the skin in the ear. Massaging the ear , soothes the baby.

There is another part of everyone’s anatomy, and especially babies, that has significance. It is the philtrum. The indentation in the middle of the upper lip.

Whether it’s true or not, I like the Jewish mythological story. Its truth enhances the specialness of every child. Every child is a gift from God. Us too. As the baby is born, God’s angel touches the upper lip and everything about heaven is forgotten. Then at our death, the angel touches our lip again, and our knowledge of heaven returns.

All of us are special and children of God. Everything in the religions of the world speaks of this uniqueness.

I cannot believe that babies are born evil as many fundamentalist Christians believe. It is called “original sin.” How do I explain the Mansons or the killers of so many or the ISIS terrorists?

Simply, it is a matter of nurture, not nature. They didn’t inherit their devilish tendencies. They were not born to be killers. THEY WERE TAUGHT IT. Either by words or example by parents or significant others.

They were carefully taught. I hope you remember the great 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, SOUTH PACIFIC.

When it first came out many religionists accused the musical of being Communist and encouraging mixed racial marriages. The Georgia legislature even passed a bill banning it from the State. Other Southern States followed suit.

The song that focused attention on the truth of nurturing is “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.” Here are the lyrics. “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear. You’ve got to be taught from year to year. It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear. You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid of people whose eyes are oddly made. And people whose skin is a different shade. You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late, before you are six or seven or eight. To hate all the people your relatives hate. You’ve got to be carefully taught!”

Amen. Selah. So be it.


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