PRESENTATION

The Song of the Child

a kind of modern fairy tale

‘Each child has a song that is longing to be heard.’
Sylvie Hétu

The Song of the Child is a richly artistic treasure-house of imaginative, poetic insights for retrieving the deep mystery that is ‘the child’, and bringing it to our adult awareness in a renewed way. It promises to become an enduring classic of modern times, as part of the growing global movement determined to protect the spirit and wonder of childhood from the relentless technocratic onslaught of a crassly one-sided materialism.

Each child has a song. Within the book, readers will find indications about how to read and ‘hear’ The Song itself - which is written in two parts: The Song in minor and The Song in major. There are 21 motifs in minor and 28 in major, and each of them is accompanied by an evocative water colour painting. The latter part of the book is called ‘The Answer’, which is an imagination of the archetypal adult, sensitively and lovingly caring for a child on its journey towards life and individual destiny.

The Song of the Child will be an inspiration for parents, educators, teachers, psychologists, therapists and counsellors - indeed, for anyone whose task is the loving care of children. The Song plays its tune for those willing to hear in another way, and wishing to engage in developing imagination as a way to welcome and act upon the uniqueness of the children under our wings.

The central intent of The Song is that adults take a considered step away from the current uncritical fashion of evaluating, measuring and assessing children, and instead start journeying in the world of images. In so doing, this book strongly challenges the certitude/attitude that currently prevails in the fields of psychology, biology and education when approaching human development.

The extraordinary birth of The Song of the Child came as a sudden, truly unexpected inspiration to its author, Sylvie Hétu. For the entire period of her adult and professional life, she has worked in the field of education; and it is during a Parents and Babies Infant Massage Class that she was blessed with The Song of the Child. Perhaps it was all the many years of dedication to the well-being of children which led Sylvie to ‘receive’ The Song of the Child.

This unusual book might be described as a kind of inspirational wake-up call, portending a step that the adult world urgently needs to take in order to attune ourselves more accurately to our children’s needs. That step is one towards a renewed imagination about who - in an archetypal way - a child is; and how - still in an archetypal way - adults can take a wise and informed stand about their children’s education.

The Song of the Child is, then, an attempt to speak for the child, but in a way in which the child could not - yet - describe herself. It is ‘the invisible’ that is - and which is trying to become - living within the child which seeks to find expression in The Song of the Child. There is no little risk, of course, in claiming to have the very soul of the child speak to we adults in a mediated way. Indeed, the only way of so doing must necessarily lie crucially beyond the intellect, beyond analytical consciousness, and, instead, must needs embrace a kind of empathically intuitive Verstehen through which the child is enabled to speak through the adult in a relatively unmediated way, unhindered by adult-centric consciousness. It takes a very special kind of adult being, and an acute sensitivity and sensibility, to rise to such a formidable challenge successfully; and those who have had the privilege of reading The Song are left with no doubt that Sylvie Hétu has indeed achieved this extraordinary feat of communication. And that she has succeeded in this most challenging of tasks is of inestimable importance as a crucial cultural intervention championing the sanctity, mystery and wonder of childhood in the face of modernity’s multiple challenges.

The book will be an excellent nurturing gift for all caring adults, not least because it can be read as a kind of modern fairy tale.




CONTENT

PART ONE: BEFORE HEARING THE SONG

Introduction from the child
A wish
Hope
Preparation for reading, experiencing and practising ‘hearing’
Words on imagination
More on the warning
‘Spiritual’ knowledge of the child
God, queens and kings, shepherds
The two parts of the song

Words about the answer
Positive naïveté
(a) Honouring a tone
(b) The white lines
(c) The magic wand

PART TWO: THE SONG


(a) The Song in minor
(b) The Song in major


PART THREE: THE ANSWER



APPENDIX: From the child



COMMENTS

ENDORSEMENTS RECEIVED for The Song of the Child

“A book, not for children, but for the child in us. A book of dragons and dolphins, forests and moons, hearing eyes and smelling ears. Mostly a book that ‘hums’ to our heart and soul before it sings to our mind. A book of imagination, of fear and peace, conflict and love, I and Thou. A ‘thank you’ to Sylvie Hétu for sharing with us her experience of the songs that move us.”
Dr Daniel Hughes, Child Psychologist, USA

“The genuine beauty in this book portrays hope and ‘songs for the child’... a book that brought me deep into myself and touched the core of my soul… I am so moved by this book that when I finished reading it, I could not leave my office to go home, as I had too many tears.”
Mia Elmsäter, Infant Massage international trainer, Sweden

“Modernity’s pernicious ‘dismemberment’ of childhood is a socio-cultural and psychological calamity for a generation of children, many of whose parents and teachers are rapidly forgetting just how to relate successfully with children. This splendid book overflows with child-centred wisdom that offers the prospect of retrieving the art of being with children, and for this reason alone it should be essential reading for parents, teachers, therapists and policy-makers the world over.”
Richard House MA, Ph.D. Steiner Kindergarten teacher, author of Therapy Beyond Modernity

“This book is definitively needed in the world. I want copies for everyone I know.”
Eric Longsworth, artist-musician, composer, France




UR publications | The Books | The Authors | Programmes