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A handshake, so simple but so powerful



Every once in a while, you see something that makes you remember how we used to interact in our communities. Today it was a handshake. I must be getting to a certain age. When I see something that reminds me of a simpler time when we dealt with each other face to face rather than via bytes and bits, I can’t help but smile.

So, I want to give props to this kindergarten teacher in Keene ISD in Texas. It is from over a year ago, but someone shared it today as kids across the nation are getting ready to go back to school.

I watched the video and was amazed at how something so simple can set the tone for a child’s day. A handshake with a pleasant greeting and an occasional impulsive hug giving everyone a chance to feel welcome. It teaches common decency and inclusion without getting preachy or using social justice teaching tactics to get there.

In a world where children will soon be texting, tweeting and using impersonal ways of communicating, this teacher has found a brilliant way to set a foundation for face to face interactions. In addition, there is physical contact in an increasingly PC  world where it is often discouraged. Yet we all know, sometimes we need a hug.

I would like to see this in every class right through homeroom in high school. Heck, I think some places of employment would even benefit. I recall a mentor of mine told me it was important for me to walk the manufacturing line every morning and say hello. Watching this video reminded me how much that daily exercise built trust and camaraderie between management and employees.

Saying hello became short conversations which evolved to me knowing who was having a baby, whose mother was sick and a whole host of other information that allowed me to connect on a personal level with the employees I was responsible for managing. When I moved on from that facility, there was not a single employee I bid farewell too that I did not get a bear hug from. I carried the lesson that being present and demonstrating sincere interest builds productive relationships through the rest of my career.

This teacher is setting a great foundation for that lesson in the simplest way possible. A handshake, good morning and looking your peers in the eye. I would wager that her class gets along better and has fewer disruptions as a result. Something we all may want to think about as our civil discourse seems to deteriorate.

Simply reaching out a hand and saying hello can start something positive.

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