Holding Hands with Our Friends and Our Loved Ones

Jim LaBate
5 min readSep 17, 2021
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

When I walked out my front door early last Saturday to retrieve my newspaper from the driveway, I noticed a man in his late twenties or early thirties walking up the street with his son, and they were holding hands. I was a bit surprised because the boy looked to be about five or six, and the street was completely deserted, so I wondered why the father felt the need to be so protective when there was no traffic, no other pedestrians, and no animals in the street. As I observed the two of them and thought even more about that moment, I finally realized what should have been obvious even sooner: That man loves his son, loves being with him, and wants the boy to experience that love through their holding of hands. What a precious sight. I’m still thinking about it days later, and I’m recalling all those similar hand-holding moments in my life and in all of our lives.

Holding Hands with Our Parents and Grandparents. Quite honestly, I can’t actually remember holding hands with my mom or dad or grandparents, and I can’t find any pictures from the Dark Ages of my youth, but I know that our hand-holding must have occurred. Our elders hold our hands when we’re young to help us stand up and to walk on our own during that first year or so of life. Then, as we gain confidence in our mobility, they hold our hands to make sure we don’t run into the street or into any other dangerous situation. At that early age, we don’t mind the hand-holding too much, but eventually, we want to break away; we want to be independent and not viewed as a baby any longer. This first rite of passage allows us to assert our individuality and self-sufficiency in a minor way.

Photo by note thanun on Unsplash

Holding Hands with Our Friends. This usually happens in school when the teachers make us walk two-by-two to the cafeteria or to the playground, not so much because the walk is dangerous but because the teachers want us to begin to look out for one another: “Find your buddy and hold hands with your buddy, so we can go out and play.” Once we’re on the playground, we’re also encouraged to hold hands as we play “Ring around the Rosie” and as we learn to “all fall down” together. Later, of course, we again break away…

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Jim LaBate

Jim LaBate works as a writing specialist in The Writing Center at Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) in Troy, New York.