Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Handle With Care

Did you make clay handprints in kindergarten? I still have mine. It’s hanging on the wall in our classroom next to my children’s handprints. I remember my teacher using a coffee can to cut the clay. Have you thought about your hands lately? When I was younger, my mom used to rave about my hands. She said I should have been a hand model. I never gave it a try, but I guess they were nice in their day. I remember going on a field trip in elementary school to see the Queen Mary. There was a tide pool display and children were encouraged to stick their hands in the water and pick up sea creatures. I didn’t want to. I can’t remember if it was the teacher, an aide or an employee of the ship, but one of them grabbed me by the wrist, plunged my hand in the icy water and forced me to pick up a starfish. I was mortified.

Hands are fascinating. They separate us from animals. One of the first things we do as babies is wrap our hand around our mother’s finger. Our parents hold our hands to keep us safe. Children in Sunday school use their hands to sing songs like “This little light of mine” and “He’s got the whole world in His hands”. Without hands, the Itsy Bitsy Spider would have never climbed up the water spout. Imagine a world without paddy cakes. We speak with our hands. We use them to wave hello and say goodbye. You can say the alphabet with your hands. As children, we’re taught to be creative by using our fingers to paint with or our hands to mold clay into shapes. We clap our hands when we’re pleased. We use our hands for friendly gestures. We use them for unfriendly gestures too. We’re taught to handle animals with care. Some people offer helping hands, while others prefer a handout. Life gives us hands-on experience with nearly everything we do. Handbooks give us information. Our hands are used to pray and worship with. As a kid I was given hand-me-downs from my sister and we often shopped at second-hand stores. We were told not to ride on the handlebars of a bike and to always hold the handrail while going down stairs. We played handball in school and were asked to raise our hand before speaking. Have you ever gotten caught with your hand in the cookie jar? We get on our hands and knees to beg for forgiveness. Sometimes we get a hand swat on the behind. You should never bite the hand that feeds you. Handheld gadgets keep the world close in hand with cell phones, iPods and blackberries.

When our hands are dirty, we give them a good hand washing with hand soap. If that’s not available, we use hand sanitizer. If our hands are dry and cracked, hand lotion is just the thing. Without hands, we couldn’t wear mittens or gloves. Our watches would fall off. We’d have no fingernails to paint or to chew off or to scratch on chalkboards. We wouldn’t wear rings, like wedding rings to show our love for another. We couldn’t hold hands with the one we loved or run our fingers through their hair. We use our hands to check for fever in our kids, or to hold them back when we stop suddenly in a car. Most women would be lost without their handbags.

Doctors use their hands to perform life saving operations. Dentists use their hands to get into the tiniest of places. Policemen use their hands to direct traffic and rely on handguns and handcuffs to do their job safely. A cop wouldn’t be the same if he didn’t yell, “Put your hands in the air!” Carpenters use their hands to build homes, using hand tools like handsaws. Kids enjoy Handy Manny and his talking tools. Farmers have ranch hands and cow hands. We even measure horses with our hands. Writers use their best handwriting to write down wonderful stories. Artists create beautiful handicrafts and handmade items. Soldiers use their hands to salute each other. We put our hand over our heart when we say “The Pledge of Allegiance” to our flag. A priest uses his hands to bless with. A gymnast uses their hands for handstands, handsprings and to keep a tight handgrip on the bars. Without talented hands, we would have never had such great works such as Mozart, Beethoven, or even Handel’s “Messiah”. The Walk of Fame in Hollywood wouldn’t be as fun without seeing all the famous handprints. We might never have heard Eric Clapton’s “Slow Hand” album, or listened to the Beatles sing “I wanna hold your hand” or even James Taylor’s “Handyman” song. I’d be lost without my favorite band, Powderfinger. Johnny Depp might not have gotten the lead in “Edward Scissorhands”. That would have been a shame for such a handsome man. Where would the Addams Family be without Thing? The world would be a less scary place without films like Oliver Stone’s “The Hand” and “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle”. Children wouldn’t be able to “point their fingers and do the twist” with The Wiggles or even wave to Wags the Dog.

Hands down, hands are pretty handy. Therefore, I leave you now, in good hands of course, as it is time for me to offer my hand in school. I hope you have a wonderful day, and whatever you do, be thankful for your hands.


  1. I've got to hand it to you - that was quite interesting!

  2. I just found my plaster hand print from first grade.

    But Doda beat me to the hand pun...

  3. what a beautiful post! I love your hand cast! I don't think I have one. I need to do that for my kids.

    great post!


  4. This made me think of M.C. Echer. He did a drawing of his hand drawing his hand. Cool picture. Great post, Rena!

  5. Wow, I guess we definitely take some things for granted. I think maybe this evening I will sit down and use my hand to play my piano for a bit. Thanks Rena!


  6. Wow,never see my hands in quite the same way again! I have said to my family when one of my fingers splits from winter eczema,that we really take it for granted how much we use our hands. And no,I guess we were very deprived in kindy,we never made hand prints like those.


  7. LOL Doda -- I was hoping there'd be some hand puns in here. I had a few more, but the post was getting kind of long handed ...

    Jacqui -- That's cool you found your hand print!

    Christy -- My girls made theirs when they went to school, but since Nathan's only been homeschooled, we did his here. I still need to do Neil's this year. You can find kits to make it pretty easy.

    Nora -- Funny you mentioned that drawing because I was looking at that same one last night. It's really interesting looking.

    Nancy -- I didn't know you played the piano. That's awesome!

    Leanne -- Yes, it's easy to take them for granted. I was really taken back by the story of the model from Brazil that recently died. Before she passed away, she had both hands and her feet amputated from a urinary infection that got out of control (gosh, I nearly typed "out of hand" but that's a bad pun). I felt so bad for her and kept thinking of how hard her life would be. She's moved onto better things now.

    Funny about the handprint thing. Rick grew up in Hawaii and they didn't make them at his school either.

  8. Ooh, we have a psychic connection...my post title today was "I Just Want to Wash my Hands" :)

    You have me wondering what happened to my handprint from kindergarten.

  9. Hey Adrienne -- You sneaked in her as I was replying to everyone else. I'll have to go check out your blog! :)

  10. I never did a handprint when I was a kid but I have one of my two kids.
    What a 'hand'some blog you had today Rena!

  11. I never did a hand thingy that I know of...but you made me go look for my son's now I have it hanging up in my home office so I can see it all the time...Thanks...

  12. Oh Rena - you've just inspired me to write my weekend post. It's about molds. You'll have to pop over this weekend to see. :)

    Thanks to my handy-muse.

  13. A lovely tribute to the humble and most handy hand. Surely I would not be typing this if I didn't have fingers.

  14. As a preschool teacher, I love little hands. They are so precious.