Sleep, my child and peace attend you, all through the night. I who love you shall be near you, all through the night. — "Sleep, My Child," Hymn 409 from Singing the Living Tradition
IN TODAY'S SESSION . . . we talked about babies! Sophia L. Fahs identifies the discovery of one's own birth as one of 12 main types of experiences that are connected with natural religious development in young children. We celebrated new babies, as well as the growth and development of the preschoolers, who have changed so much since infanthood. We learned that child dedication ceremonies are an important ritual in our congregation.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Read one or more of the books suggested for this session:
- Welcoming Babies by Margy Burns Knight, 2003. "Every day, everywhere, babies are born. We have many ways to show them we are glad they came into the world."
- Hello Baby! by Mem Fox, illustrated by Steve Jenkins, 2009. After meeting a bevy of baby animals—including a clever monkey, a hairy warthog, and a dusty lion cub—the baby in this classic board book discovers the most precious creature of all . . . itself, of course!
- Oscar's Half Birthday by Bob Graham, 2005. Oscar is only six months old, but his family can't wait to celebrate his first birthday. They all go to the park for a picnic and a half-birthday party.
- Baby Brains by Simon James, 2007. It's never too early to start bringing up the smartest baby in the whole world.
- I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy, 2004. It's so exciting! News of the baby is buzzing from animal to animal, with each one—fish, bird, squirrel, insect, frog—boasting of seeing, feeding, singing to, tickling, and kissing the tiny little thing.
- Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, 2007. With a simple clap of hands, an itty-bitty beboppin' baby gets his whole family singing and dancing.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try . . . donating some of your child's outgrown toys to a local charity. Talk about how much your child has grown up.
A Family Adventure. Visit a baby!
A Family Discovery. Watch two episodes of the Lifetime Television series Army Wives (Season 3, Episodes 5 and 6), which feature a UU child dedication ceremony set in the historic Unitarian Church in Charleston, S.C., or read the story by Michelle Bates Deakin in UU World Magazine, August 10, 2009.
A Family Game. Role-play a child dedication ceremony. Many different versions can be found online, including this one by Kate Howard on the UUA website.