Changing Lives One Word and One Touch at a Time

One of the greatest gifts we can offer a child is a feeling of security and safety.  How we communicate this plays a huge role in the child’s development of self worth.  I’ve been told that the majority of effective communication is non-verbal.  In other words my expressions, my tone of voice, my body position, and my movements all convey a profound message of their own.    Information that is read and interpreted by the listener either validates the words spoken, or stands in opposition to them.  All words must be confirmed by the body language or else doubt, misunderstanding, and hurt can result.   Words, both written and uttered, document the formal message, but they do not validate it.  The resulting conflict, from radically different messages, both verbal and non-verbal, confuse the process.  Just as words with multiple interpretations and varying cultural constraints can confound the communication, non-verbal messages compound the setting even more.

And what about physical touch?  How does this affect the communication process?  Hurt leads to hit and subsequently to hate.  Does tenderness lead to embrace and ensuing love in like manner? The force of touch delivered in anger destroys years of good.  More significant than this is the power of a heart-felt hug or reassuring squeeze that reinforces the good of the past.  Over time, can excessive affection erase the ills of the past?  A strong embrace cannot be faked.  Something magical happens as two bodies tighten soul to soul in perfect harmony of meaning and intent.  Past issues and contentions seem to vanish as the squeeze prolongs.  Strange as this may seem, this may be the answer to many of our conflicts in life: genuine tenderness and touch.

Through the impact of a single touch at the right moment on the right day to the right person, I can change a life for good.  With the utterance of a single word or the offering of a simple smile, I can touch people for good.  Who can determine these critical moments when individual lives are in need, or when the timing is optimum to impact another?  How can I learn to discern the episodic times of my brother’s sojourn?  What will it take to refocus my efforts to the needs of a significant other?  When will I learn that no one is insignificant?

Maybe this is the meaning of life, the purpose of our earthly existence, our individual destiny.  Can a life dedicated to seemingly insignificant acts of concern equate to one of notoriety and historical impact?  The habitual, unmentioned kindness within each of us, when communicated effectively, can ultimately change the world, and it will happen one word and one touch at a time.

Originally posted on September 17, 2011 on