I started to write some of this in a reply to a comment on one of my blog posts here when I realized I was writing more than just a “reply comment” worth, so I decided to put it into a pondering.
Touch, the endangered art form of communication
Touch is an underrated necessity in relationships. I don’t just mean for “passionate” connection, although it has its obvious benefits there, but for everyday living. The touch of parent to child, sibling to sibling, friend to friend and in our intimate relationships too, but in non intimate ways, touch is necessary to build, support and express our appreciation or love for someone. There is much transferred and received with touch. This is true for healthy, comforting, loving touch such as a gentle tousling of hair, a squeeze of the hand, a good night or morning hug. Unfortunately, this is also true for harmful, hate filled touch such at hitting, slapping, pushing etc. Much is relayed whether positive or negative. Loving touch is a necessity of life that does seem to be an endangered art form of communication. I believe it is an important building block for the growth of our children. Not everyone gets to partake in it on a regular basis, if at all. So, reach out and touch someone’s arm, scratch their back or just hold their hand “without reason.” Grab them in the kitchen and dance with them, humming the music if needed or moving to the quite hum of the refrigerator. Sometimes nothing needs to be said; sometimes speaking diminishes the touch connection and sometimes touch can support, build and enhance the spoken word.
There are also times when touch can become just another “standard thing we do.” Mix it up some! When your kid comes over to kiss you on the cheek and squeeze your neck while you’re still sitting in a chair, hop up and grab them in a full hug, walk them to their room, arm around their shoulder, tuck them in the bed and squeeze their neck or hand. If you and your love always hold hands when you walk, mix it up, slide your hand in the back pocket of their jeans, or your arm around their waist. Don’t let the touch become so much a standard that it fades into the background. Instead of the quick peck on the lips when saying goodbye or welcome home, grab the person by the face and look into their eyes. See what you can say without using words.
Males, this isn’t just for females and dads this isn’t just for moms.
Stephen Kellogg – 2010