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A Season of Preparation
By Guest Author on January 23rd, 2012

About 6 months ago, the Lord gave me a vivid dream that has caused me set apart this season to go deep in the revelation of who Jesus is and to gather practical tools pertaining to caring for the orphan. I believe that the Lord has many of you in the same season of gaining tools in the spiritual and in the natural as you either are preparing to care for children or are already☺. I have recently completed the Orphan Justice Center Fellowship (a 4 month internship that places emphasis on restoring hurt children, developing leadership skills, and giving opportunities for hands-on experience). I learned some wonderful practical tips for caring for children both through my experiences and reading requirements. Ideally, I hope to peak your interest enough to read some of these particular books for yourself!

Ghosts from the Nursery: Tracing the Roots of Violence, an alarming account of a nineteen year old named Jeffrey who sits on death row for murder, is a call for the Church to take a look at how a child’s experience in the womb and first two years of life truly shapes who they will become. Using portions from Jeffrey’s story, and other children’s stories, Karr-Morse and Wiley portray how infancy is the stage which lays the foundation for conscience, trust, empathy, and learned behaviors. Although not a Christian book, this book has caused me to contemplate many of the “contemporary” approaches to pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing and how they are affecting the children of this generation. For example, this book talks the positive effects of co- sleeping with your baby. Ghosts from the Nursery pulls from many resources. The information below is mainly from Dr. James McKenna, a professional who specializes in studying sudden infant death syndrome.

“McKenna makes an extraordinarily clear case for rethinking basic child care practices that many of us take for granted, particularly the unquestioned practice of isolating infants in their own beds for sleep. By comparison to other primates, the human baby has a much longer period of dependency on the mother. For the most essential physiological processes the baby’s central nervous system remains immature for several months, relying on closeness to the mother’s body to set its basic rhythms, including eating, states of sleep, and alertness. This makes constant access to a caregiver and the quality of that access key to the early programming of the baby. Understanding this fundamental biological programming in infants is crucial to reducing to reducing sudden infant death, which McKenna sees as a by-product of the Western world’s unique cultural experiment of isolating sleeping infants.

McKenna’s videotaped segments of mother and infants sleeping together show that when the mother moves in her sleep, the baby also moves, their patterns of arousal remaining reciprocal even while asleep.

Isolating infants for sleep is a very expensive consequence of prioritizing the parents’ independence and autonomy over the basic biological expectations of the infant.

Besides being a strong voice for breastfeeding and for babies sleeping with their parents, McKenna is an advocate for child care practices that are based on an informed understanding of infant biological and emotional needs.” 1

Governmental issues regarding how we care for our children and appalling statistics that link violence rates with abuse and neglect in the United States are also covered. I highly recommend this book if you want to gain understanding about the importance of first few years of life. Just be warned that it does contain very vivid, compelling, and true stories pertaining to violence and abuse.

1. Karr-Morse, R., & Wiley, M.S. (1997). Ghosts from the Nursery: Tracing the Roots of Violence. New York, NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, pp. 292-293.

Danielle Helmer

Danielle serves full time with the Orphan Justice Center and IHOP-KC’s Children’s Justice Initiatives. She is currently working with the OJC Restore team to see parents and families equipped to restore their children. Danielle believes there is a mandate from the Lord over her life to be instrumental in raising up a generation of youth to prepare the way for the Lord’s return.

 

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January 23rd, 2012
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