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Tuesday October 11

Palm 131

Lord, I have given up my pride and turned away from my arrogance. I am not concerned with great matters or with subjects too difficult for me.Instead, I am content and at peace. As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms, so my heart is quiet within me.

Do you know why else we can be sure we are meant for joy?  Because that is the way God creates us in the first place.

The most important organ we have is our brain. The brain regulates everything else. It is through the brain we experience emotional and physical health. Healthy brain, healthy life. Well, guess what? God wires our brains for joy.

Remember, joy means I am glad to be with you?

Think of an infant. You don’t have to teach an infant to be thrilled to be with his mother. Or a good mother to be thrilled to be with her baby. God already wires things this way. We could have dropped from the sky by storks like in Dumbo. But, no, God creates us to come out of the womb of our mother. And from that moment on, let the joy begin. And we’ll need as much of that joy as we can because the baby’s brain is developing at a tremendous rate, and joy is the key emotion to spur on healthy brain growth.

I say “mother” because mothers are usually a baby’s biggest joy. During the first three months of life, a baby feels joy by being close to their mother. Activities like nursing, rocking, sleeping near the baby, carrying him around near her body, are all greatly beneficial to mother and child. This connection is the root of all human development. Dad, Grandma and Grandpa- whoever spends significant time with the infant during this time, also reinforces this joy.

In the first six weeks, joy and bonding come primarily from mother’s smell, from being fed, and staying warm. Then bonding the next six weeks is touch-centered.

So, through smell, taste, temperature, and touch the baby begins to understand himself as a person in relationship to his mother. What the baby experiences during these first months becomes the emotional thermostat he will seek for the rest of his life. After three months the baby has developed enough of a picture in his mind what his mother feels about him. From now on, joy becomes very interactive. Relational. It is also at this time the main joy structures in the brain go through their most serious growth spurt.

After three months of age when the most rapid brain growth occurs, the visual part of the brain becomes the dominant sense. The baby is looking for eyes that are looking at them with joy. The baby instantly senses, “Someone is thrilled to be with me!” Nothing interests a baby more than looking at faces and eyes. It only takes a few seconds for a baby to explode with delight if joyful eyes are looking at him. Here’s another thing about joy.

Joy is the one emotion babies will willingly seek on their own. Since this is the case, they are motivated to have increasingly high levels of joy. They will keep working toward joy even if things go wrong. This is why babies will return to joy after being upset very quickly. They return to joy because mom or someone close to them soothes them after the upset. Babies are like vacuum cleaners. sucking up everything around them. A baby becomes what they receive.

ME

Some said, “The eyes are a window to the soul.” What might this mean in light of what we are learning here?

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