The Enormous Benefit of a Helping Hand

The Enormous Benefit of a Helping Hand

Is there an enormous benefit to receiving a helping hand, or simply someone’s hand to hold? Do you believe there is a connection to police work? Is this some kind of psychobabble?

Yes, yes, and no!


Praying for safety for the Mississippi Highway Patrol prior to their leg escorting “The Trail of Tears.” (Photo courtesy Mary Ann Coggins Robertson)


Like most of you—hopefully—I experienced the warmth of holding my mother’s hand as a child. Naturally, her hands were connected to her arms, which hugged and affirmed me. There was an unspoken message with each embrace that communicated unconditional love that only a mother can offer.

give support

(Photo courtesy Leah Daniel)

My father’s hand was a positive influence in my life, yet different. It resembled a leathery paw caused by decades of farming, construction work, and other manual labor. When he took my hand it was like a shepherd’s staff guiding me to succeed as he showed the way. These hands served as a protector from harm, whether the danger was an outside source or self-inflicted.

thousand words

(Photo submitted by LET reader, titled J and Brae. Edited by LET)

Through my own parental, and now grand-parenting responsibilities, I want my hands to be viewed through the lens of love, assistance, and security. However, these values need to be reinforced by actions; something I hope I’m achieving.

When he took my hand it was like a shepherd’s staff guiding me to succeed as he showed the way.

The unspoken message with a helping hand or simply holding hands is that of care and concern for the wellbeing of the recipient; a signal of their importance in your world.

The World of Sports 

While watching a sporting event, you will occasionally see a team holding hands, or physically connected in some manner—locking arms—that embodies teamwork and unity. Coaches who adhere to this philosophy know the sum total of the team always outshines the individual performance.

“A rising tide raises all ships.”

– President John F. Kennedy

Moreover, athletes buying into this philosophy also know the symbolic nature of helping teammates to their feet after they’ve been knocked to the ground. It is the message that we’re in this together.

Furthermore, taking it a step further is the aphorism frequently used and generally credited to President John F. Kennedy: “A rising tide raises all ships.”

Do we raise those around us?

Law Enforcement Applications 

The applications to police work are many. For instance, do meetings begin and end with a handshake? While it is a simple gesture, it’s frequently absent when in-house territorial wars are in place.

real brotherhood


It’s difficult to be hostile to others when you greet in this manner. As a result, edifying words may also follow other forms of civil communication, like a culturally accepted shaking of hands. Of course it is not the remedy to disagreements, but it’s a nice place to start.

PR Battle

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Miguel Lara III)

Another example is found in various forms of training. Tactical teams frequently use techniques that demonstrate a level of unity initiated by hand contact or other forms of team-connectedness. It promotes the idea of harmony and synchronization.

(Richmond Police Department, Virginia)

In a professional world where physical contact should always remain professional, the handshake or helping hand through actual activity need to be a staple in a healthy organization.

Even Unto Death 

The enormous benefit of a helping hand on the job or the loving touch of a parent should never be undervalued. When each of my parents passed away and were on display in the mortuary, I felt the need to place my palm on the back of their hands as their folded fingers rested in place. Although my faith in God assured me their soul was in the presence of the Lord, and their body was nothing more than a “tent” to be taken down at death, I still felt the desire for physical contact because of the loving imprints they left on my life.

I felt the need to place my palm on the back of their hands as their folded fingers rested in place.

Finally, what kind of impressions are we leaving our loved ones? What about our professional colleagues? Will anyone want to touch our hands one final moment as we are displayed before burial?

Jim McNeff, partner and managing editor, Law Enforcement Today

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