Daniel Stern: He captured our attention; he challenged our capacity to see more of what was hidden fom plain sight; he pleaded with us to slow down, listen, watch and learn before constructing a story; he introduced us to babies and their interactions in a dynamic fresh way; he called us to be present with the language of experience.
When WAIMH members received word that Dan Stern had died, many around the world expressed deeply felt sorrow for the loss of a colleague, a mentor, and revered leader who had an enormous influence on the infant mental health community. The WAIMH Board sent a note of sympathy to Nadia BruschweilerStern (Dan’s wife), his children and family, but struggled with how to say “good-bye” and honor a man who was so very important to the development of our thinking about babies in relationships and the rapidly growing infant mental health field. After considerable thought and a flurry of e-mail communications, board members agreed that there could be a special edition of Perspectives in which we would publish remembrances, personal and professional. In turn, several colleagues responded quickly, confirming their willingness to contribute their reflections.
As a result, this Winter 2013 issue is dedicated to Daniel Stern and contains a series of reflections from colleagues, concerning interactions and experiences they had with him. These generous offerings provide a rare window into the person of, and the work of, Daniel Stern. They highlight the fact that he didn’t talk the walk, he walked and sometimes even danced the talk.
In addition to the contributions from those who knew him, we have made one article available, with permission from the publisher, the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health: Stern, D. (2008). “The Clinical Relevance of Infancy: A Progress Report,” Infant Mental Health Journal, Vol. 29(3), pp. 177-188. This is representative of the many books and journal articles that he published during his wonderfully productive career.
Finally, we hope that this issue of Perspectives will help keep Daniel Stern’s many contributions alive and in mind as all of us continue our work with and/or on behalf of infants; and as we enter into meaningful working relationships with one another, savoring every moment.
Fitzgerald, Hiram E,