The Art of Hand-Holding

We attended a funeral yesterday. Esther led a difficult service with sensitivity and compassion. She read a poem that starts:

Will you…
Hold my hand for a little while?
I don’t need you to save me
No need for you to fix anything
No need for you to hold my pain
But will you simply hold my hand?

I grew up with the Beatles singing:

Oh, yeah, I’ll tell you something
I think you’ll understand
When I say that something
I wanna hold your hand…

Hand-holding then was young and innocent. There’s pleasure in the present and anticipation for the future… In our funeral poem hand-holding comes at times of darkness, pain and loss…

A few years ago I was going through a difficult time. The future seemed uncertain and I felt alone. I read Robert Quinn who talks about ‘walking naked into a land of uncertainty’.

It felt like I was that man. I didn’t need someone to do something dramatic and fix my problem. I needed someone to walk naked alongside me, hold my (metaphorical) hand, and travel with me into my land of uncertainty.

In Katharine ‘A Mind Of Their Own’ Katharine Hill writes well about family life and good parenting. Yesterday I read:

‘But important as their English, maths or science GCSEs and A-levels are, the most important A* is in emotional health. Being open to redefining success in the cause of our children’s wellbeing is the hallmark of a wise parent.’

Katharine’s writing confirms my experiences in teaching… children don’t need their parents to be decision-makers, target-setters, benefactors, problem-worriers… They need literal and metaphorical hand-holders who will walk with them as they discover life.


…with gratitude on those who have been my hand-holders..

…seeking insight and compassion on those who need hand-holding through bereavement, uncertainty, parenting…

…with humility on my current skill and required improvement in the art of hand-holding.

…my Father-God and friend, whose hand-holding is constant, consistent and my inspirational example.

The full poem that Esther read, written by Zoe Johansen, can be found on

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