Hello my name is Leah, and I am here to talk to you about the wonder of hands.*They are symbols of war and peace, who a person is, where they've been, and what they've done. We can raise them in victory or anger, we can lower them in defeat or love, we leave marks on what we touch and every mark is unique.
These are my hands, my past, and my history. They may make mistakes, but they learn how to fix them, and to be careful, instead of carefree. Small, big, fat or thin, creased with age or scarred from your battles, your hands are the written book of your life.
They navigate you through your learning years and help you to make choices, though some may be bad.* Do you remember that time when you laid your hand down in anger, and you laid it down again and again hoping to rid your self of the bad feelings? When you found no comfort from your actions you sought the loving hand of your parents, telling you its okay.
Your hands are powerful weapons, *Martin Luther King raised his in passion and changed the nation, *Adolf Hitler raised his in selfishness and brought pain and suffering to the Jews, and then, a *Grandma, after many years of caring, chiding and raising her children, looks at her hands and sees old, wrinkly beaten hands with nobbly fingers sore with arthritis.
Ladies, your hands are your gateway to freedom in the outer world, they get you ready; prepare you for the day and many days to come. Don't disregard them; they are there for a reason. Imagine if you didn't have hands, you wouldn't be able to hold your first child when it gazes up at you through the white hospital blankets for the first time, you wouldn't be able to brush your hair, prepare a meal, hold a hand, and you won't be able to open that door that leads you to greater things.
You know, in the earlier times, a thief would have his hands chopped off by the person he stole from and the string finger of an archers would be removed by the enemy so that they couldn't string a bow, that is where the gesture 'F you' came from because if they had both their fingers they would raise them in triumph. Gestures have been created over the years, good or bad, and they have been a way of communication. They are used when you talk, when you motion for someone to be quiet, when you want them to get out of your way.
When your ears have failed you. When your sight has gone. When your speech is slurred and no one else can understand you, you have no other way to communicate but by using your hands. *Sign language and Braille are both carefully crafted languages that are used by nearly half of the population of the world.
Braille is a form of speech for the blind, it's as if you are writing on their hands and each touch means something different. The sign language is the most common form of language used in the deaf culture. Along with the basic alphabet, there are more complex gestures used when they converse. This is a gateway that has been opened by Juan Pablo De Bonet who was the first man to create and write the alphabet.
You need to here me. *A lot of people today will use their hands to put someone down, make them feel bad about themselves. I need you all to point at me… Now turn your hand over, how many more fingers are pointing back at you? Hands are the most expressive part of your body, alongside the way you hold yourself and your expressions. Next time you put someone down, hurt them; think.
'First with your head, and then with your heart,' is a quote from a book The Power of One by Bryce Courtney. A boxer, trained to knock the lights out of someone has to have tactics, and he shares with an orphaned boy his secret, 'First with your head, and then with your heart.' Think, before you act. When you pull back your fist to hurt someone, when you point your finger and call names, you need to think, and then decide what to do and put your heart into it.
I look at my hands and see creases that I think I'm too young for, freckles from too much sun, and ugly scars that remind me of my mistakes. I curl my fingers in a fist because I don't like what I see.
But, the creases are from the many times I've used them, the freckles are from fun times at the beach with my family and the scars, they are still my mistakes, but I have learnt and know what not to do. I open my hand and see the potential I carry and the responsibilities that weigh them down. 27 bones, 10 fingernails, fingertips that hold some of the densest nerve endings, and the most famous one of all, opposable thumbs.
Small, big, fat or thin, creased with age or scarred from your battles, your hands are the written book of your life. I hope you now see the beauty and the value of your own hands because no matter how old you are, or what you do, you are always using your hands. *Thank you.