EDUCATION BEAT: The value of human touch | Columnists

EDUCATION BEAT: Blessed be the peacemakers | Columnists

EDUCATION BEAT: The value of human touch | Columnists

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Each new dawn we find that tens of thousands of school-aged children across our nation are developing newfound symptoms of depression and anxiety. Yes, part of those numbers may very well be attributed to the fact that most students are now learning largely by electronic means only, rather than by more hands-on/natural methods (a topic of which I’ve preached tirelessly about in this column).

But surely much of those alarming new numbers are due to the fact that our children are no longer free to touch each other, or anyone — even those who love them dearly — as often, or in quite the same way, as they once did.

I used to get “written up” for doing so many hands-on, small-group, highly interactive outside learning activities, eschewing the computer as I did for more natural methods. I’m willing to bet those same administrators, wherever they may now be, might take a somewhat more appreciable view of my teaching style, could they wind back the clock.

But time will not rewind for us. What we have instead in our current time and place is a virus that is entirely reshaping the way we learn. Reshaping the human mind, even.

Along our way, I so very much hope we don’t lose our deeply engrained need and desire for simple human touch.

In years past, while on my nightly sojourns to help the hidden homeless in our midst, I would sometimes stumble upon a prostitute or two walking the streets (particularly in some other nearby towns). I would offer to help them, too, of course, a prospect at which I sometimes succeeded. One of the more remarkable lessons these dear souls proceeded to teach me was about how remarkable is the human touch. No, not “that” kind of touch, my friends. Which is precisely my point. These good ladies of the night were the all-time masters at discerning human touch. In about as quickly as you and I can blink an eye, they could tell whether my touch (yes, I’m a hugger, and always have been) was genuinely kind and sincere, or “up to something else.” Yes, by my touch, they could fully discern my real inner intentions. Not by my voice. Not by my words. But by simple human touch.

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