I love babies.
Their clean, new innocence makes me want to hold them, smell them, touch them.
I know I am not the only one. Every day, someone wants to chuck a baby’s chin, stroke a baby’s arm, or hold someone else’s baby. In the store, at church, even total strangers smile and want to see the baby or hold their children up so they can see it. Even stodgy, young-upwardly-progressive types give half a smile and nod to the babe-in-arms.
What makes most people give those goofy faces and noises just to extract a smile back from a baby?
Why—when newborns look basically like little old men—do we croon about how beautiful they are? And when they get fat and develop a glistening dribble of spit on the lip, why do we exclaim how adorable they are?
I think it’s because we naturally protect. Our nature causes most of us to envelope the innocent and helpless. Some think of the potential lying in that baby carrier and all the life ahead of it. We imagine how confused we must have felt when we were that size. We think of this small bundle as incapable of wrongdoing, worthy of protection and advancement.
Our thoughts mirror those Socrates called for in his dying words, that our children justly deserve our input during their journey to be our rulers.
We naturally call up thoughts like Plato expressed in his Republic, that the beginning is the most important part of any work, for that is when the character is formed.
We echo Aristotle’s Rhetoric where he says pity may well up in those who think we may eventually find some sort of good inside a person.
We may not realize we have such bold and universally defended thoughts, but even in Homer’s Iliad, we find:
He stretched his arms towards his child, but the boy cried and nestled in his nurse’s bosom, scared at the sight of his father’s armor, and the horsehair plume that nodded fiercely from his helmet. His father and mother laughed to see him, but Hector took the helmet from his head and laid it all gleaming upon the ground. Then he took his darling child, kissed him, and dandled him in his arms…
Written a bazillion years ago, this tender scene touches most of us as much as meeting a stranger’s helpless baby in an elevator. The thought of a ferocious warrior, removing his armor for a baby, rings true in our hearts, makes a great story.
The FACT is that every human with a truthful heart cares about a baby. We can even say that about dogs and several other animals. Often they sense, they know—the protection due a baby can alter what we would expect their reactions to be, can surprise us, as does the reaction of a seeming iron-clad soul in a chance meeting with a baby.
And Jesus took them up in His arms and blessed them.
Moms everywhere! Lay aside your armor; take up your babes and bless them!