Learning from Smart Babies
Infant research, which began in the 1970’s, has been revealing for three decades that babies are much smarter than we think, beginning in womb. Moms and dads tell me all the time about the amazing capabilities of their infants — but then, they usually say that whatever their child did must have been a random event. They don’t give their child much credit. As parents, we need to be fully aware of who our babies are and what can teach us! Babies are themselves master teachers who are conscious and present to each moment, can compassionately pick up on our feelings and needs, and imitate others’ sounds and actions. Babies are always learning, sensing and feeling at a very rapid rate because their open minds function without a filter. Alison Gopnik, a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has written a new book, The Philosophical Baby, in which she identifies how the baby’s pure mind and heart is awakening our own spiritual qualities. She summarized her ideas in a recent article in The New York Times.
Remember, that, as a new parent, you are learning exponentially from your baby about the value of expressing love, having a sense of wonder, joy and spontaneity in daily life. When we consciously interact with our children through their play, there can be a true meeting-of-minds. Neuroscience tells us that this sharing of minds, which occurs through mutual eye contact, is the primary dynamic through which the infant brain develops. Your close eye contact with your baby builds their basic trust with another in an enriched environment. The quality of this kind of interaction also allows us as adults to feel met by another and to enjoy peak emotional moments. We can share the wonder of children’s growing abilities and appreciate the heart opening within us.
As you provide daily care to your babies, remember that they are smart and that they are teaching you every moment.