In ways that previous generations of men simply were not immersed in. Once you have held your sleeping child night after night or walked for years with their hand in yours, you are a changed person.
You gain a fluency and confidence in touch that you will never loose. It is a gift to us men from our children that literally has the capacity to transform American culture.
Accordingly, now, when I am with a friend I do reach out. I do make contact. And I do so with confidence and joy. And I have my own clear path forward.
The patterns in my life may be somewhat set but I intend to do everything I can to remain in contact with my son in hopes that he will have a different view of touch in his life.
I hug him and kiss him. We hold hands or I put my arm around him when we watch TV or walk on the street. I will not back off from him because someone somewhere might take issue with our physical connection.
I will not back off because somehow there is an unspoken rule that I must cut him loose in the world to fend for himself. I hope we can hold hands even when he is a man. I hope we continue to hold hands till the day I die.
Ultimately, we will unlearn our fear of touch in the context of our personal lives and in our day to day interactions.
Learning how to express platonic love and affection through touch is a vast and remarkable change that has to be lived. But it is so important that we do it. Because it is central to having a rich full life.
Touch is life.
This article originally appeared on the Good Men Project.
This article is available in Mark Greene’s book Remaking Manhood.
Follow Mark Greene on Twitter: @RemakingManhood
Explore more of Mark Greene’s work at RemakingManhood.com or
by liking his Remaking Manhood page on Facebook.
Printed with permission.
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