Friday, January 14, 2011

Are your kids touch-starved?

Last night Tara and Ethan (above) left for a mommy/son trip to Pennsylvania for a cousin's wedding.  Ethan was especially excited because he was taking along our DVD of the Phillies' run to the World Series in 2008 to watch in its entirety in the car!  Such a thing would never be allowed under normal circumstances by his brother or sister, so he was pumped.  My love for baseball and the Phillies has definitely been passed down to this guy:)

Before he left, he came over about four different times to give me a hug.  It was a reminder for me of the high value of touch between human beings and the powerful messages communicated by it.  Without a word, he was revealing love and the fact he would miss me.  Touch is powerful.

In fact, I heard a news blip this morning that super high tech ultrasound research now shows twins reaching out to grasp hands in their mom's womb at 14 weeks!  From our earliest days, God put something inside of us that craves physical interaction and connection.  There is much concern over the amount of physical and sexual abuse happening today in our world.  Without any care, predators are sending shocking messages of pain to kids everywhere.  This has caused many caring adults to become paralyzed and avoid appropriate forms of touch altogether.  No touch or little touch can be just as damaging.

I noticed this morning in Luke 5:13 (yes, small group, I did my reading for today) that Jesus reached his hand out to touch a man with leprosy and heal him.  This man who had been touch-starved because of his horrible disease received both healing and love from Jesus.  Can you imagine the joy welling up inside this man who hadn't been shown that form of love in a long time?

Make sure you give plenty of hugs, kisses, hi-fives, shoulder squeezes, and other forms of appropriate touch to the kids around you.  If it's not something that comes naturally to you, then make it a new habit.  Set a goal to give 5 appropriate touches to kids around you each day, and then grow from there.  They need it...and so do you.


  1. John,
    This was apparent as I stood in the Kid City first grade classroom and felt a squeeze before I even saw the face of who was doing the squeezing.
    One of "my kids" had ran into class and gave me a hug, first thing. He made my day by allowing me to realize that my volunteering hopes for "making a difference" just might be making a difference.

    Heidi Elias

  2. So, so, so true. Never more evident than when in the presence of our precious orphans.