Jesus' touch

Jesus' touch

Jesus' touch

It is very common for a child at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to ask staff to brush, braid, or “fix” their hair. Sometimes, a child who can never sit still will quietly pass 30 minutes or more while having their hair brushed.
When a child is at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, we follow strict boundaries about appropriate touch. A staff person may side-hug a child, high-five, tuck them in, address minor “owies,” put a comforting hand on a shoulder or hand, brush their hair. This is a place of care and healing. It is also a professional environment for treatment. So many of these children have had traumatic experiences with physical touch. Some have been beaten, molested, or abused. Others can’t interpret kind touch. We provide much training to ensure staff maintain professionalism while also showing compassion and concern.

Yet, humans are designed to crave physical touch. Appropriate, comforting touch decreases heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol (the hormone released during stress and pain) while increasing oxytocin (a hormone released during moments of human connection associated with feelings of empathy and trust).
In the lead-up to Easter, we celebrate Holy Thursday, the day Jesus chose to touch and wash the feet of his followers. He was humble and kind. He showed us that you lead by being of service.
Yet, he chose that service to include human touch. He could have served his followers by making their dinner or doing laundry. Instead, he touched them. They could feel his love and mercy. He showed us how to care.

So, we side-hug and give high fives and brush hair. Please pray that the children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch experience a future of peaceful human touch.
I hope you had a blessed Easter.

In His love,

Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

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