Monday, February 02, 2015

Musings on Dreaming Babies

In the space of a minute or so his cute, round face morphs from serene, to gentle smiles and silent giggles. Smiles break into a few seconds of what appears like non-vocalized open-mouthed laughter that suggests he’s experiencing sheer delight. He slept on during the brief entertaining show he gave us. His is the pure, innocent joy of a newborn baby, only hours old.

As ol’ guys are inclined to do, Andy – Hudson’s great-grandpa – and I discussed what induced this precious little guy’s display of delight. I commented that my mother used to say that a baby, when smiling during sleep, is often reacting to pleasant sensations caused by “wind” in the tummy, or “gas,” as we say in Canada. Andy thought of that too. Of course, we know that tummy-ache often awakens a baby, whose pained bawling can soon waken a whole household!
I venture to suggest that a sleeping, smiling baby, in his (or her) early hours and days of life outside of the womb, might sometimes be having pleasant dreams. But what on earth do newborn babies dream about and what sort of images do they see in them?
Moms, midwives and neo-natal medics, psychologists and neuroscientists might well have their ideas about that. However, I’ll chip in some uninformed layman suggestions of things that they likely do not dream about.
They don’t dream of growing up to lie and cheat and steal, or of committing adultery, or violating women or children. I don’t suppose they’d dream of enjoying future celebrity and great wealth, or of wasting away on skid row, helplessly hooked on drugs or alcohol.
Surely they’d never dream of a day when they’ll brandish guns and kill people or blow them to smithereens – possibly themselves included. On the other hand, I don’t suppose they dream about bringing help and healing to the broken, of protecting others and doing all manner of beautiful deeds, out of loving care for them.
Perhaps their dreams don’t take a visual form that’s distinguishable to them at all, but rather represent a 'state of being,' in response to sensations of comfort or discomfort.  
Some babies grow up to take pleasure in evil, adopting pernicious ideas and developing attitudes that lead to destructive actions (newborn Adolph Hitler was probably a cute and inoffensive little guy, too).
Some grow up to value wholesome, helpful ways and demonstrate positive attitudes that lead to noble, life-enriching actions for them and the people around them (Mother Teresa of Calcutta was once a newborn). Of course, numerous familial, cultural and religious influences and circumstances play into what a child becomes.
Baby Hudson is precious and loved and well-provided for. But, is not the infant sucking the empty breast of a mother in a disease-ravaged, famine-stricken land precious, too? Of course he or she is precious.
Many older generation North Americans will remember the lines of the children’s song, Jesus loves the little children, All the children of the world . . . All are precious in His sight ... —precious, regardless of colour, ethnicity, culture or religion.  The ‘accident’ of birth likely placed most of us and our children and grandchildren in kinder environments than most people on the planet experience.
The year is still quite young, yet so soon its innocence fades, as global news reports reach us daily about tragic consequences of human error and hateful, senseless evil actions. Amidst the bad, good is worked out through the lives of those who dream good dreams and fulfil visions of humble greatness in serving others with love and care.
What smile-inducing, gaze-raising dreams represent our prayers for this year and the babies and young people in our lives?
The above post was adapted from Peter's weekly column, P-Pep! published in The Guide-Advocate, January 15, 2015.
Peter's second book is a compilation of inspirational articles from his weekly column—on a variety of themes. These are interspersed with brief expressions intended to encourage.  Ebook edition is now available on Amazon.
ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3 (Angel Hope Publishing)


Rose McCormick Brandon said...

Challenging thoughts, Peter. Every life is indeed precious.

Peter Black said...

So true, Rose. Thanks.
Sponsoring under-resourced children, especially in developing countries, is a wonderful way of demonstrating our belief in the preciousness of children, and makes a great difference in those lives, even though there are so many more who're not given that opportunity.~~+~~

David Kitz said...

Every baby has great potential for good or evil. By God's grace we as adults around that child can guide the outcome, but ultimately they pilot their own destiny. Great post, Peter.

Glynis said...

I remember listening to a fellow speak at a church I attended. This fellow was raised in a very dysfunctional home. His mother was a prostitute. His home was filled with drug, alcohol and other addictions and he was taught that when you were hungry it was okay to steal food from the store if you didn't have enough money. My heart broke for him, although somehow through all the mess of his young life he found the Lord. It was quite a testimony. But I remember how badly I felt that he was taught as a baby, toddler, preschooler. . .and up - that it was okay to steal, lie, cheat and so on. He didn't know any different until he got older, but so much was ingrained. It didn't seem fair. That said - we rejoice that he found the Lord! Great food for thought, Peter.

Kathleen Gibson said...

Peter, I think of the gentle-babyhood and loving mother of every criminal I see featured on that horror show we call the news. Perhaps if more of us prayed for those people, the horror show may eventually change to the hope show? :) We can always imagine, right? Thanks for this.

Peter Black said...

Thank you everyone, for your insightful, heartfelt and prayerful thoughts.
Little children - our Heavenly Father's little ones - are indeed precious. Yes, prayer for them and for parents, and providing practical help and mentoring are so needful.
Jesus' words are strong regarding those who cause "one of these little ones to sin . . ." (Mat. 18:6).
BTW on the bright side: I've to accompany Baby Hudson's Dedication Service on Sunday. His great-grandpa will be officiating. I'm also to sing a short song I'd written for the occasion, titled "We Dedicate . . ." ~~+~~

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