Singing the Song of a Child

August 15, 2011
Discover an African tradition that builds a connection between a child and the community through a special song.

Vacation Update:

If you read the August 10 post, you will know that I am on a two-week trip with our grandson by car, plane and sailboat.

Yesterday we arrived in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and today we’re learning the ropes of sailing. I hope our grandson makes friends with one or more of the other children. When we brought another grandson to this same program several years ago, he found a friend whose interests perfectly fit our grandson. But if he doesn’t make a friend, we’ll just play a few more card games in the evening.



Every once-in-while I decide to create a new category of articles, such as Quotations Worth Considering, Visual Viewpoints, Step-into-Pictures. Then on July 15 of this year I began a series of Questions Worth Asking Yourself.

Now I am starting another, called “Fond Farewell Articles.”

You see, I am changing the format of Support4Change from Dreamweaver to Joomla. If you don’t know what that means, it is simply that now (in a few weeks) the site will be dynamic rather than static. Consequently, instead of having each page uploaded as a complete unit, each page will be created fresh, sort of like the homepage of where pictures can be changed without the URL needing to change.

Deleting material that doesn’t fit in new format

That may be more than you want to know, but I am telling you that in the process of changing to a new format,  I am eliminating a lot of articles that no longer fit the new arrangement. Some of these articles originated in the first website I created, CancerOnline, a nonprofit for cancer patients and their families. Then I expanded the material to meet a broader audience and created Learning Place Online, which had 12 sections.

Finally, about ten years ago, I found that too much to manage and I separated those articles into Support4Change with six sections and Childhood Affirmations for parents.

Now, I am narrowing the material even more into three major sections: Strengthen Relationships, Understand Yourself, and Find Inspiration. And of course, there will also be this blog. (Childhood Affirmations will get its makeover later.)

Do you feel the hand of a perfectionist in the creation of these large websites that cover too much material for me to manage? And might you also see the encouragement of a recovering perfectionist in narrowing the content to fewer topics?

Fond farewell to articles that will no longer be available on the site

In any case, I am giving a fond farewell to articles that will no longer be available on the website by letting them have a last appearance on the blog. Actually, some of these articles will be found for a short period of time on the sites until I have made a complete change-over. But basically, I want to acknowledge their importance and to thank the authors if they were written by someone other than me.

The articles will be available in the archives of the blog

You can still see some of the “discarded” articles in the blog by using the search function. And when the site is completely revamped, readers of the blog will be the first to know.



Could happily expecting a babyToday I wish a fond farewell to a poem written anonymously that makes me wonder whether the world might be a far different place if everyone had a special song written only for him or her. We would each be honored in our conception and in our lives as a whole.

If you know of someone who might be a parent one day, perhaps you could share this with him or her. And if they are newly minted parents, there is still something here to inspire them in their parenting.

The Song of a Child

There is a tribe in East Africa
for whom the birthday of a child
is not counted from the day of its physical birth
nor even the day of conception.

For this tribe,
the birthday is the first time the child
is a thought in its mother’s mind.

Aware of her intention to conceive a child with a particular father,
the mother goes off to sit alone under a tree.

There she sits and listens
until she can hear the song of the child she hopes to conceive.

Once she has heard it,
she returns to her village
and teaches it to the father
so that they can sing it together as they make love,
inviting the child to join them.

After the child is conceived,
she sings to the baby in her womb,
and she teaches the song
to the old women and midwives of the village,
so that throughout the labor
and the miraculous moment of birth itself,
the child is greeted with its song.

After the birth,
all the villagers learn the song of their new member
and later sing it to the child when it falls or hurts itself.

It is sung at times of triumph,
or in rituals and initiations.

This song becomes a part of the marriage ceremony
when the child is grown.

And at the end of life
his or her loved ones
will gather around the deathbed
and sing this song
for the last time.



Did you enjoy this post?
Here are a some related posts from this blog, and articles from the Support4Change website:


2 thoughts on “Singing the Song of a Child

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