The Healing Powers of Holding Your Father’s Hand

The Therapeutic Powers of Holding Your Father’s Hand


Due to the nursery rhyme “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star,” my little son had taken to calling stars “up-aboves.” It’s certainly one of his charms to level them out on a nighttime stroll, using on my shoulders. He believes that each one folks dwell to the age of 100, then we fly up there to dwell collectively. Sometime once I go, he says that he gained’t let me go alone. He’ll bounce on my again whether or not I prefer it or not and experience up there with me.

It shouldn’t be misplaced on us that the harmless, genuine language of kids—with which they boldly declare their experiences of the world as their very own—accommodates a sure magic that reminds us of how separated we develop into as adults from the expertise of the numinous.

 Nicolas Poussin/Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Cedalion using on the shoulders of Orion.

Supply: Nicolas Poussin/Public Area, Wikimedia Commons

That is maybe the lesson of Orion, the hunter of historic Greek fable, who had gone too far in his ambitions, crossed the road of respect and diplomacy with the opposite gods and goddesses to have Zeus punish him by ripping out his eyes. In desperation, he approached the blacksmith god, Hephaestus, and requested that he vogue him new eyes to switch the misplaced ones.

The blacksmith was agency in denying the request—it will immediately disobey Zeus, and doing so wouldn’t work, anyway. He stated that Orion was destined to stroll all the best way to the furthest, japanese areas of the world the place the solar god, Helios, rises each morning. This illumination would reward his journey to alter himself and his relations with others with “new eyes.”

How was Orion to stroll such an inconceivable distance with out eyes?

Hephaestus’ resolution is that he would lend Orion certainly one of his apprentices, a younger boy, Cedalion. The boy would sit on his shoulders as he walked and will function his substitute sight till he may earn again his new eyes when morning breaks.

And they also started a protracted pilgrimage east.

Remembering to Maintain Arms With a Son

We have been about to cross a busy avenue in Chicago once I instinctively grasped my son’s little hand, at which he clutched mine tight. As I all the time do, I advised him that he’s my favourite particular person in the entire world. As we reached the opposite facet, his grip softened till he ripped it away a second later to leap to the curb.

I felt all of the sudden and profoundly unhappy, not realizing why till late that evening. I assumed again to the one time I recall my father ever holding my hand. On the identical age as my son, a canine bit me. My father grasped my hand to guide me again to the canine—to seek out it couldn’t damage me with him current. As an alternative, I might rip my hand away and run, the factor that incited its reflex to chew within the first place.

He was a mathematician and airplane pilot who handed a very long time in the past. A long time later, once I fly and really feel the jarring sense of turbulence, I make up for all of the misplaced alternatives to carry my father’s hand and belief it. I shut my eyes and picture the sensation of my father’s giant hand enveloping my very own, which turns into a way of peace and calm, assured that all the pieces can be alright. I thank him, then we “speak,” making up for the misplaced time of him dying younger.

Grossman et al. (2002) present that paternal gender socialization could also be disproportionately influential to the maternal on baby outcomes. Our connection to our fathers profoundly impacts how our lives will unfold.

Our particular place to proceed a endless dialog continues lengthy after my father’s passing. It solely exists for us above 30,000 ft, the place he was happiest as a pilot. It’s a feeling of saudade—each unhappy that we didn’t maintain arms practically sufficient in life, but pleasurable to nonetheless have a private, tangible connection to a person who sacrificed a lot of his personal welfare for my safety and happiness.

Allan Briggs (2019) describes the “current father” in your life because the genesis of id growth and the flexibility to study and uncover the world round us by way of distinctions between the occasions, folks, and their circumstances inside it.

Allan Schore (2017) demonstrates that fathers play a elementary position in regulating emotion, and “rough-and-tumble” play is very helpful to boys in studying to develop into adults who function on the planet inside societal limits and below the steerage of societal guidelines. Essentially the most simple motion with which such play begins and ends is the tender, gentle moments of each preliminary contact and letting go which are felt in arms holding one another.

Remembering to Maintain Arms With a Daughter

I might have one other remembrance of a hand to carry within the type of a small image. It’s a black-and-white print of a small woman within the wind; her hand outstretched towards a vivid-red, heart-shaped balloon. It seemed just like the uncontrollable wind was taking away all the colour of life itself, leaving her and her world colorless.

I burst into tears on the sight, not realizing why till moments later what was apparent.

We had as soon as misplaced who we have been sure was going to be a daughter. It felt as if I used to be all of the sudden trying on the outstretched hand I might by no means maintain, who left earlier than she may even emerge into the world.

I had no thought who Banksy was as much as that time, nor that I used to be his most well-known portray, one which, just like the artist, had shaken the artwork world via paradox—Miguel Pina e Cunha, et al. (2021). Folks around the globe debate whether or not the balloon is misplaced innocence or whether or not she is chasing the balloon and is holding out hope to understand it once more, to come back alive in a world of colour.

We are able to all interpret it very personally, which is a part of the genius of Banksy. Nonetheless, it begs anybody witness to it to seize the hand of the woman, and to carry it tight, no matter our private connection to the piece could also be.

Seeing Woman with Balloon jogged my memory of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam within the Sistine Chapel. Outstretched arms between the terrestrial world and the numinous, which by contact, we create and are created. As if the Michelangelo is the response to the Banksy, the “hand of the daddy” is supposed to understand that of the woman as soon as the balloon drifts past attain. It could solely be then that “all the pieces’s going to be alright” for her once more, the final word mission of a father for a daughter.

Hand-Holding Lasts Perpetually

The analysis on hand-holding says that it lowers blood strain, reduces ache in parallel with empathy, and synchronizes mind waves in correlation with the flexibility to precisely assess one another’s emotional states—Goldstein (2018).

In case you shut your eyes with empathy for somebody you’ve misplaced too early, you’re nonetheless holding arms, and it makes you the sort of particular person to make it possible for all the pieces can be alright for others. In case you’ve misplaced your father, his generosity was actual, and what you could have develop into due to him is simply as actual and nonetheless rising by his affect.

You’re nonetheless holding arms with him and may proceed to take action till the day that you just, too, fly to satisfy him within the “up-aboves.” For now, your connection is renewed any time you shut your eyes and attain out your hand.


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