Saturday, December 15, 2007

Gregorian Child Care

This morning, I found out that my 6 month old nephew loves to hear the Te Deum. He spent nearly an hour in my arms listening to me sing it. He would watch every phrase and then close his eyes and then open them at the start of the next phrase. He would stare intently at the words being formed and would smile each time that the melody swelled.

I am not one of those guys who is quick to read alot of spiritual meaning into these kinds of events, but I am going to go ahead and jump to the conclusion that this little tyke has good taste in music.

When watching other people's infants, I have found that Gregorian Chant is a valuable tool for men to use when calming and putting children to sleep. The deep tones that rumble in the chest when the melody plunges can be a very calming sensation for little children who are being held. I have yet to find a child that this does not help with. Parents are often quite amazed at how quickly their fussy babies go to sleep. They claim that I have some kind of gift.

Really it is just three things: plenty of body warmth, long and slow twisting motions, and a few Ambrosian hymns.

Of course this is all anecdotal evidence to support my theory, but I particularly recommend this hymn from the Brotherhood Prayer Book "Service of Compline" as a lullaby for fathers. This song even puts me in the mood to go to sleep.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my dad reading the Bible to me in bed. There is nothing that prevents bedtime from being a theological teaching moment... at any age.

1 comment:

Adam Roe said...

Excellent advice Mike! I have lately been doing our family's evening devotions with candles and choral music in the background. We then recite one of the creeds, the Lord's Prayer, and I send them off to bed with the sign of the cross and a kiss. It seems to create a sense of calm not just at night, but also through the day.