One Old Sage

Thoughts, Stories, and Bits of Wisdom

The Power of Human Touch

You may have seen an updated story about the 1995 birth of twin girls. One of the girls wasn’t doing well and her sister was put in the incubator with her and hugged her.  This hug literally saved a life.


CNN recently did a followup on the girls who are now eighteen.

This is a truly heartwarming story but it also reminds us of the need to have human touch in our lives.

As regular readers know, I come from a family that believes that hugging and showing physical affection is OK. My earliest recollections include my mother tucking me in at night and kissing me good night. My Dad also kissed me good night until the “ick” factor kicked. However, I wasn’t averse to a hug as I got older. Mom would also sit by the bedside when we were ill and rub our backs or simply pat us on the arm to let us know she was there. This soothing touch made a world of difference.

Whenever we got together as a family, which wasn’t that often due to our geographical disparty, hugs were always feely given.

To this day, I’m still happy that I gave my Dad a hug when we parted for what turned out to be the last time. He died one month later.

Even when my mother was in the nursing home, hugs were expected upon departure and arrival. Failure to do so would result in a motherly reprimand asking, “Where’s my hug?” Amazing how even when we are full grown, a mother can still lay on a guilt trip.

Studies have shown that a touch or kind word can help someone feel better. The following articles at ( provide a very clear explanation of the benefits of touch. However, as it points out, it is something we tend to avoid as we get older.

Today, I look at what we are doing as human beings and I’m concerned. Oh sure, we see lots of young people hugging each other hello and goodbye. It has become the thing to do for them but how long will it last? Will they still hug each other in their 20’s and 30’s? Will they feel comfortable even touching a longtime friend on the shoulder?

My fondest hope is that the answer to all of the above is “yes”. However, I believe we’re reached a certain point in our society where any overt Public Displays of Affection are somewhat frowned upon, particularly when we reach a certain age of maturity shall we say.

We rightfully create awareness in our young about the dangers of  going away with strangers, looking for lost puppies and the like. However, I hope that what we are doing is creating awareness and not fear.

I’m one of those weird old farts whose heart melts when I see a baby. I can’t help it. If you want to have me become a baby talking jabbering idiot, ask me to hold your new born infant. You should be prepared to ask for him/her back though as I get quite attached. OK, at least until they do a dump then the kid is all yours.

Are we depriving our children of that needed human touch? Finding out that someone other than our parents are willing to give us a hug or pat on the shoulder should be a time of peace and tranquility not fear.  If the child is raised in an environment where contact is feared or loathed what will that do to future relationships?

Like the twin in the story, don’t be afraid to give someone you care about a hug or a pat on the shoulder or arm. You might even put a smile on their face or save a life.

Cover of "Where's My Hug?"

Cover of Where’s My Hug?

16 comments on “The Power of Human Touch

  1. Lynn
    August 22, 2014

    Hi Nelson, I stumbled across your post through leaving a comment over at Anka’s Grit + Honey. I too, am a hugger. Doesn’t matter whether you are the giver or the receiver, everyone wins! Love your post:)

    I also wrote a little something a ways back. I invite you to have a read if you like:

    Lovely to meet you!

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      August 22, 2014

      Thanks very much for stopping by and reading my post. I will definitely read yours. I think we huggers are becoming a lost breed. It’s unfortunate people don’t see the power of a hug.

      However, I also understand in our apparent sexualized society these days that overt displays of affection can be misinterpreted. This is very sad.

      Thanks again and I look forward to reading the post.


  2. khaula mazhar
    May 9, 2013

    I love this post! I love cuddling my kids, even the older ones when they let me. Everyone needs a hug.

  3. Robin
    March 4, 2013

    The last time I visited Chicago, there were people out on the street with a huge “Free Hugs” sign. I stopped to get one, but I noticed that most people did not. It seemed such a shame to pass up the opportunity for a free hug. I don’t know why everyone didn’t stop. It only took a couple of seconds and I walked away feeling happier. :)

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      March 4, 2013

      Hugs are good. I think we’ve started to sexualize everything and people are afraid. Sometimes a hug is just a hug. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Maggie
    March 4, 2013

    Love it and completely agree! Human touch, affection and kind gestures are so important and significant. So much that is good, pure and real is frowned upon…it’s rather disheartening.

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      March 4, 2013

      It is disheartening. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate it.

  5. Rivki Silver
    March 2, 2013

    I love this message. My husband is affectionate with our kids, and he once asked me if I thought he was being “too” affectionate. My response was “no such thing!” Kids can never get too much physical reassurance of our love. It’s also nice to hug friends, especially if someone is having a hard day. Or just a hand on the shoulder. Great post!

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      March 2, 2013

      What a wonderful surprise seeing you again. I’m glad you like the post. The answer you gave your husband was the right one. Your children will let him know when enough is enough particularly as they get older. But now they know that Dad is a safe haven and that he cares about them. I knew that no matter how bad things were or good for that matter all I had to do was put my arms out to my Mom or Dad and they’re love embraced me.

      Even now it’s an interesting spectacle that has turned more than one head when people see myself and my two brothers get together. We are all over 6 feet tall and when you see three big guys like us hugging and smiling it makes people wonder. :)

      For what it’s worth, tell your husband that even though I don’t know him that I’m proud of him for the example that he is setting for your children. Needless to say, I’m confident that you don’t need any encouragement to hug the little ones but still “Good job Mom!”


  6. happyzinny
    February 27, 2013

    I liked learning about those tiny babies. Thank goodness one nurse went against custom and put them together! This is, I have to say it, a touching post!

  7. Pam Currey
    February 27, 2013

    Am hugging you Nelson.

  8. Lynette d'Arty-Cross
    February 27, 2013

    What a lovely post and a good reminder to us all. Thanks, Nelson. :)

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This entry was posted on February 27, 2013 by in Old Sage Musings.

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