Today is the day that “baby boxes” are being rolled out across Scotland, after trials in Orkney and Clackmannanshire. The government are keen that all of our children get the best possible start in life, and believe this is one of the ingredients which will help move things in such a direction.
People are divided about whether or not this new venture is a good idea. Some see it as a waste of taxpayers’ money while others are huge fans of distributing essential items such as blankets, clothes and nappies, not to mention the box itself, which can function as a cot, and even comes with a mattress.
Laying aside the political and financial aspects of Scotland’s cardboard give-away, what would you like to see going into this box? The contents will evolve; the government have already ditched the cloth nappies after feedback from trials.
How about a wipeable letters and numbers book to improve literacy and numeracy, or some of the best Scottish recipes for broth, duff, stovies and Cullen skink and the like to help with nutrition. Or maybe the Oxford English dictionary, a subscription to the Economist, and a copy of Handel’s Messiah.
Perhaps something for the parents….. a few cans of Red Bull, a CD of white noise to help get 5 minute’s peace, earplugs, safety goggles, heavy duty gloves, a free baby-sitter voucher, and a check-list of everything you now need even when going out on the shortest of trips with your wee one.
Predictably enough, the number 1 item I’d like to see in this Finnish-inspired box would be a Bible. How wonderful it would be for each baby born in Scotland to have their own copy of God’s message to them.
Currently, each box comes with a poem written by our own poet laureate, Jackie Kay. I like much of this poem, written in Scots. The poem ends as follows:
“Let your life hae luck, health, charm, Ye are my bonny blessed bairn, My small miraculous gift. I never kent luve like this.”
In a nation when so many are growing up without meaning, purpose, identity hope and lasting love, how good it would be to give our children the best possible start in life by telling them about their Creator, about the love God has for them, about the meaning of life (to glorify and enjoy God), about the one who formed their miraculous bodies and souls, about the dignity and value they have as little people made in the image of God, and about the amazing fact that they can have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, which trumps anything luck, health and charm can bring.
How good it would be to give them a children’s Bible, so that parents can teach them all that God has done for the world, and the forgiveness, peace and eternal life he offers. Then, as they put their trust in Jesus, and begin to understand (with God’s help) just how wonderful God’s kindness and grace is, they will be able to say about God “I never kent luve like this”.