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February 7, 2020
Berry Brazelton liked to say he played with babies. His fellow Texan, pediatrician Sally Provence, danced with them. “Sally,” he asked, “how do you get inside a baby’s head?” “Well,” she replied, “isn’t there a baby inside each of us?”
It can be difficult to remember that baby. Yet those early experiences – what we are grateful for, needed, wish we hadn’t missed out on, or wish we’d been protected from – are a guide to what the world needs now.
We witness children harmed by the decisions that adults make – whether at the border, in far off countries, just down the road, or in our own homes. Not knowing what to do, or knowing we are not doing enough to protect all our children, can also make it hard to remember the baby each of us once was. But beginning with the way we use self-understanding to understand, care about and act on behalf of others, our human capacities evolved precisely so that we could ensure that all our children would thrive. To find hope in this may sound dreamy, but dreams help us see beyond reality to possibility.
Every newborn baby is possibility become reality. Birth may be one of the only universally revered miracles, whether we celebrate it in December, the spring, or every day. Each new life reminds us of why we are here, and why we keep on going. 25 years ago, in war torn Sarajevo, a traumatized young psychologist asked Berry Brazelton how to keep helping in the midst of the hate and destruction. “Play with a baby,” he said. Or dance with one. To heal the baby inside, ourselves, and each other.
Thank you for all you do to protect babies and children, to help them flourish, and restore hope for all of us.
Joshua Sparrow, MD