When the couple could not arrange a Baby Blessing after the child was born, we did a customized ceremony on his 2nd birthday. The parents asked me if it was almost too late for such a ceremony to take place. I asked them to consider if it is ever too late to gather family and friends as a community to speak words of commitment to the care of child?
These gatherings are often watered down into birthday parties where the focus is on cake, gifts, and a moment to make a wish. The difference is, the very big difference is, that a Baby Blessing is a more significant moment. It’s a celebration, much like a wedding, when the community verbally and physically expresses their commitment and support for that child. It’s the moment when the child’s village considers their commitment to the health and well-being of that child, past the child’s material needs. It’s a moment when they are witnessed expressing their support to be there for that child throughout their highs and lows.
Imagine what a child’s growth would be like in their formative years if these types of rituals were continuously made as part of the birthday celebration. Each year, hearing and knowing that grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, chosen-family members give verbal commitments to remind the child and teen that they care about them and that they are there to love, encourage and support them each year.
I can’t help but wonder if this would have a huge impact in the world – mental health and suicide rates in teens.
The book, 5 Love Languages, describes the different ways we feel and express our love to others. In the few workshops I’ve given on this topic, I have had participants fill out the quiz to determine their top love language. It’s been astonishing me to me how few participants had ‘Gifts’ on their list for the top two. Although verbal is often much higher, do we still offer birthday cards with the content and language that is truly meaningful, or do we leave it to Hallmark?
Expressions of love can be acts of service, quality time, physical touch, verbal words of affirmation and gifts. A Baby Blessing can embody all of those languages of love to both the child and the parents hosting the ceremony.
As we have become a global village and live farther and farther away from the communities and families we were born into, a new perspective on how to make our loved ones actually feel loved may be in order.
For creative ideas and support in creating these moments, I would be happy to help.