Dr. Bud Beamer publishes 'The Baby and the Seed'
You could say the seed was planted for his book "The Baby and the Seed" many years ago when Dr. Leland "Bud" Beamer was a young student at Cornell College in Iowa.
"I had a female professor who was really big on why we become who we are," he recalls. "They didn't have all this scientific knowledge then, but they knew that a good beginning made a big difference."
He wrote a paper on the topic for the class, which became required reading.
"Something turned me on as far as a passion. The seed was there," Beamer said. "You assume a child at that age isn't going to remember anything, so does it really make a difference what goes on if they're not going to remember it?"
And yet, Beamer points out, research shows that 90% of the brain pathways are developed during pregnancy and the first two years of life.
"Who they are going to become is determined by that period in their life, so it's a big deal."
Although it took several decades, Beamer published his illustrated children's book in August, which he describes as a primer on good parenting and a book for the entire family.
Over the years, he read several books that furthered his interest in a person's formative years, such as "Ghosts From the Nursery: Tracing the Roots of Violence" by Robin Karr-Morse and Bruce Perry's "The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog."
Beamer's 40 years of experience as a Madras family doctor and surgeon followed by seven years as a doctor with Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution further nurtured Beamer's desire for writing the book.
"I deal with all these guys in prison, and that was some of the basis of the book," Beamer said. "Reading their psychiatric intakes and how they were raised, and it breaks your heart to think that parents actually did these things to their kids, treated them in such a way."
Several years ago, Beamer was moved to write a poem entitled "Hungry Eyes," which was based on the importance of a mother's eye and facial contact with her baby. Gabor Maté's book "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts" provided the metaphor comparing the beginnings of a human and a seed of wheat and why they both rely on a good environment.
"A baby needs nurturing and love, and the seed needs good soil and sunshine and water, and I thought, I can make a poem out of that," Beamer related.
In 2007, he recited "Hungry Eyes" to the Oregon Ways and Means Committee, which was part of a presentation which moved them to fund $1 million to start four relief nurseries.
While he was working at the prison in Pendleton, Beamer became friends with an inmate who was an artist in residence. Beamer and Kirk Charlton had talked about Beamer's idea of using his poem as a basis for a book and accompanying it with Charlton's illustrations.
Beamer then returned to Madras and took a job as the chief medical officer at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution. He soon got a letter from Charlton, who asked him about that book they were going to do. That's all the motivation Beamer needed.
The poet and artists teamed up. Charlton's colorful illustrations accompany each stanza of Beamer's "The Baby and the Seed" poem, which speaks of the importance of babies feeling love and safety as they grow. They also added an appendix with advice on children's development of emotions and skills and the importance of reading, music, playing, chores, caring, resilience and love in a child's life.
Another section explains how toxic stress in the home affects the baby's growing brain and will affect the person who she will become and will be the basis for future chronic diseases, addiction, mental and behavioral disorders, and learning disabilities, Beamer said.
Madras artist Paul Lanquist contributed real-life portraits, which Beamer said help the reader relate emotionally to the connection between a parent and a baby.
Beamer worked with Xlibris, a self-publishing agency, to print and promote the 58-page book. "The Baby and the Seed" has been selected for the New York Times Best Read List.
He wants to get "The Baby and the Seed" into the hands of expectant parents, families, child caregivers, professionals and children themselves.
"The main objective in the book is to stop the intergenerational transmission of dysfunctional parenting," Beamer said. "We're going to parent as we were parented, and if it's been dysfunctional, there's going to be more dysfunctional parents."
He hopes his book will give young parents and parents to be the insight on how to love and nurture their children so they grow into adults who in turn have empathy and are able to self-regulate.
"Love is magic! It can create a caring, healthy, capable human being that becomes a contributing member of society," Beamer said. "I hope that people can learn from it and that it will make a difference."
"The Baby and the Seed"
Author: Leland "Bud" Beamer
Illustrator: Kirk Charlton
Portraits by Paul Lanquist
Available online at Xlibris, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Google Books.
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