Posted by: coachingparents | July 16, 2009


By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.

Without human contact, we don’t develop into human beings.  We’ve
heard of the disastrous and tragic results of children being deprived
of regular human contact.  Mental retardation, emotional stinting,
marasmus, failure to thrive, even death, result when contact is
lacking or absent.

It can be said that regular contact with each other is absolutely
necessary for us to evolve into healthy, happy and fully-developed
people.  We change best through learning.    We learn best by
imitation.  We develop best by imitating the examples given us by
parents, siblings, friends, teachers, and lovers.  Without contact
with these people we cannot imitate examples.  If contact with them is
missing, then what we would have learned from them never becomes part
of us.

To rule out contact between one another places in peril our mental,
physical and social health.  Yet so many schools have ruled “no
contact” between students and teachers.  Parents avoid contact with
their own children.  Friends are afraid to hug each other.   In our
society, it seems as if physical contact is always made out to be
sexual in nature.  The non-sexual value of human contact is rarely
learned.  What a tragic omission to our development!

Contact with one another can be made in several ways.  Physical
touch we know is necessary for us to survive and feel well.  The need
for touch is to our emotional health as the need for food is to our
physical health.  We never “outgrow” our need for touch.

Communicative contact is required to solve mutual problems and
maintain healthy relationships.  With or without words, communication
is a powerful medium for human contact.

Emotional contact is a powerful motivator of our behavior.  Without
emotional contact, marriages fall apart.  Emotional contact is
essential to intimacy.  It is critical in creating satisfactory

We are healed from many types of illnesses by contact.  To feel the
warmth, caring and support of another’s presence can have a healing
effect all by itself.

Contact is essential for sex to be shared.  Without contact, the
human species becomes extinct.

A reader shared the following story with me.  I share it with you as
an example of the power of human contact.

It was Babe Ruth’s final full game.  His baseball career was drawing
to a close.  The game was between the Braves and the Cincinnati Reds. 
Babe was no longer as agile or strong as he once was.  He had fumbled
the ball, thrown badly, and in a single inning, his misplays resulted
in most of the five runs scored by Cincinnati.

After the third out of the bungled inning, the great Babe Ruth
headed for the clubhouse with his head down, feeling angry and
discouraged.  As he walked off the field, he heard the hissing,
yelling, and booing of the crowd.  Babe Ruth who had hit 714 home runs
in his career, who was the hero of baseball fans everywhere, heard the
jeers of the crowd.  He knew he was finished.

Suddenly, a young boy jumped over the railing and ran onto the
playing field.  With tears streaming down his face, he threw his arms
around the knees of the Babe, his idol.  Ruth without an instant’s
hesitation picked up the boy, hugged him for a second, and set him
down on his feet, and gently patted his head.

The thousands of noisy fans hushed into silence.  The scene of one
little boy caring enough about the feelings of another, to risk
contact with him, had opened the hearts of a stadium crowd.  For a
brief moment in time, Babe, the boy, and the crowd made contact with
one another and were unified in caring.

Hopefully, we will all risk more caring contact with one another.
The evolution and survival of the human race depends upon it!
Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D. has 30+ years experience as a Life Coach and
Licensed Psychologist.  He is available for coaching in any area
presented in “Practical Life Coaching” (formerly “Practical
Psychology”).  Initial coaching sessions are free.  E-mail:


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