God has made each person in His image. Creating us according to His likeness means all people are spiritual learners.
This begs the answers to a couple of questions, “Are babies spiritual learners? And if they are, how do parents engage them in faith?”
I was holding my almost three-month-old granddaughter the other day, and she became fussy. Once I turned on the music of her mobile, she calmed. The music soothed her spirit as I walked her around. Likewise, once she saw her mommy’s face, she smiled, and all was well within her. And when my daughter changed her clothes and diaper, held her close, and fed her hunger, this little one was most comfortable.
As you can see, it is by way of the senses parents nurture a baby’s little faith. A baby feels, sees, hears, tastes and smells; each sense, if supported carefully, can be used to lead a baby’s heart to their Father in Heaven.
How can you use the five senses to engage your baby’s faith, now?
Seeing engages learning.
New to the world and seeing everything for the first time, a baby is wide-eyed, taking in all that she can see. Lights, colors, and movement engage a baby’s mind (one of the reasons they want mommy and daddy to walk them around); they see and learn more. A baby’s brain is full of energy ready to absorb all that God has created.
Taking the time to show your baby the world strengthens their desire to learn. Don’t leave them stationary for long periods of time; walk them around, pointing out objects and things of nature; tell them that God made all these things for them to enjoy. (Genesis 1-2).
Hearing engages faith.
Talking to your baby is essential.
As I was talking to my granddaughter telling her how beautiful she was, she was cooing and moving her lips to form words. She wants to talk, too!
I spoke so much to my own children; hence, I believe the reason they all talked so early.
In the many conversations you have with your little one, share God’s word with them. Words like: God made you beautiful (Psalm 139). Jesus loves you (John 3:16). You are God’s princess/prince (2 Corinthians 5:20). Don’t just show them things of this world, tell them what they are seeing, tasting, and hearing. The beginning steps of faith come orally before seeing words on a page.
In addition to talking to your baby, playing music is imperative. Hearing music fosters a heart for worship. This one is so significant, I plan to devote an entire post about it. For today’s post, however, understand that listening to positive and worshipful music with your baby engages their little faith, a faith they will later understand.
Tasting engages experience.
Knowing God is an experience, not just knowledge. The Psalmist says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). The word ‘taste’ in this verse means ‘to experience.’
When mommy and daddy feed and change their little one, their needs are met; and a met need is a care experienced. Trust develops, hope is assured, and protection sensed. Leaving a baby crying from hunger only increases a sense of mistrust. Meeting their need fosters their faith in you and eventually in “God who takes care of all their needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to them in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
Feeling engages confidence.
To feel assured is to feel confident. When a baby cries, something is wrong. Knowing that mommy or daddy will come to their aide teaches their baby that God hears them and is with them. Your attention is a representation of God’s.
When you help your baby, you teach them to “Not be afraid, for God is with them. Not be discouraged, for Jesus is their God. He strengthens them and helps them. He will hold them up with His victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
Parents, your hands are His hands. Hold your baby often, comfort them regularly; in doing this, you teach them God cares for every detail of their life.
Smelling engages presence.
According to Lise Eliot, Ph.D the sense of smell is formed in the womb. Familiar smells give comfort to a baby. For example, Eliot says babies know their mother’s breast, the scent of their Father, even their saliva on their pacifier. These familiar smells give them peace.
Introduce new odors; they can become anxious and fearful.
If dropping off your baby at daycare or the church nursery is frightening to them, leave with them a blanket that has your smell on it. They will sense your presence is with them, and this teaches them that in new places, God is with them as well.
The way to foster a baby’s faith in God is for you to be His exact representation. They sense the Father’s care through your care. “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2).