A Hope from a Birth Song

With a hope to celebrate and honor each of the children of their tribe, one African tribe sings each child’s unique birth song to him/her throughout his/her entire life.

Prior to a child’s birth, the mother of the child is the first one to hear and learn her unborn child’s birth song.

When a woman wants to have a child, she leaves her village and goes off somewhere by herself. She sits down under a tree, and she listens until she hears the song of her unborn child. She then returns to the village to teach her child’s birth song to the man who will be the child’s father. Together, as they are conceiving the child, they sing the child’s birth song to invite the child to its birth.

Prior to a child’s birth, the child’s mother, the child’s father, and the midwives and old women of the village learn the child’s birth song. Later, when the mother is birthing the child, the child is warmly greeted and welcomed into the world by the midwives and old women who sing to him his birth song.

As the child grows up, the entire village learns to sing the child’s birth song, and; therefore, each child continues to hear his unique song throughout his life — when he is hurt, when he is wonderful, and when he goes through puberty. Later, during his marriage ceremony, he sings his own birth song.

The villagers sing the child’s birth song for the last time as the child is dying.

I believe the children of this African tribe are very blessed. The people of the village bless their children every time they sing their birth songs to them. The saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” is very applicable to this village because they truly help raise each of their children.

What a wonderful tradition this is, and what a wonderful way to celebrate and honor each child’s worth and place in her tribe, village, or community.

“People take on the shapes of the songs and the stories that surround them, especially if they don’t have their own song.”  ―    Neil Gaiman,    Anansi Boys

As a former family violence prevention program coordinator and Olweus bullying prevention trainer, I question if a child’s self-esteem and social emotional learning skills could be changed forever by hearing a village or community sing her birth song throughout her entire life.

Could people awakened to know that children are their greatest resource sing children’s birth songs as a tool to build a community…an awakened community in which the repetitious singing of children’s birth songs help abolish hate, prejudice, and violence?

I question, “In a world where we don’t even know the names of our neighbors’ children, what could be the global impact of knowing and singing children’s birth songs?”

I wish I would have known about the birth song tradition before each of my children was born. I would have loved to have given each of them a birth song. That is why, before I wrote this article today, I sent each of my children the link to the YouTube video below.

I urge other parents to do the same for each of their children. Some may also decide to send a birth song to other children they know, especially orphaned, abandoned, neglected, or emotionally, mentally, or sexually abused children. I urge you to find a song, a poem, etc. that will help each child/person know how special she is, or find something that tells each of them what you wish for him. Then send it or give it to each person.

During this holiday season, such a birth song could be an awesome, life-changing gift for someone you love. This gift could make a real difference in a person’s life.

As a way to honor Christ’s birth, those of you who celebrate Christmas may also enjoy sharing one of Christ’s birth songs, which were known to the prophets and/or his parents before his birth.

YouTube video with Rascal Flatts singing “My Wish”.

I do not choose, control, or receive compensation for the advertisements/videos inserted below.  Please do not view them as part of article content.

Reference:
Welcoming Spirit Home: Ancient African Teachings to Celebrate Children and Community New World Library