There is no age to young nor too old for where something read out or recited has no affect. It is something fantastic as even dying people with closed eyes react to words spoken, with tears or facial expressions – so do babies. Don’t ever underestimate the power of voice, which is resonance,which is alchemy and the medium of transformation.
I read, sung and had fun communicating with Florens already in the womb. We already then had cozy family moments gathered together and talking – Words read out tingle when it’s done honestly. So even now and she loves it. The first thing I read to her on her first day home was the Diamond Sūtra. It is a swinging text that flows well and gives of fine vibrations, as she laid on my chest that first day at home. Now I’ve moved on to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the Bosnian poet Mak Dizdar’s Kameni Spavač. For the more visual experience I have plenty of big art books, medieval masterpieces, works of William Blake and all that. Some will be reread and many new added to our family library.
In an age where the 2D world of touchscreen dominate what both adults and kids see, we need to take responsibility in initiating our young ones to real works of art – especially those of the eternal quality. But also that digital landscape needs good initiation, as most adults don’t know much about how to really use the technology in this day and age of massive surveillance and non-privacy ambient.
Anyway, it’s important to engage and talk to babies and in my opinion in a relaxed and honest way. Reading, singing and having vocal fun with them both stimulates and gives them the feeling of safety. It’s funny because after reading for a while and then making a stop, she gets excited and sort of looks around and at me in saying “go on dad, read more!”.