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?
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