It all started with a handshake; your Webster Montessori School experience.
We greeted you for a tour, welcomed you for a visit, and congratulated you upon your decision to enroll. Your children have started and ended each day with a handshake. In fact, Montessori children around the world shake hands.
But, what is a handshake? Did you know people have been shaking hands for thousands of years? Archaeological ruins and ancient texts show that handshaking was practiced in ancient Greece as far back as the 5th century BC. The handshake is thought by some to have originated as a gesture of peace by demonstrating that the hand holds no weapon.
Did you know you would have to shake nearly 20,000 hands in one day to break a world record? On August 31, 1987 Stephen Potter from St Albans shook 19,550 hands at the St Albans Carnival to take the World record for shaking most hands verified by the Guinness Book of records. The record has since been exceeded but has been retired from the book. Stephen Potter still holds the British and European record.
And, you’ll need to put in a lot of time to break the world record for longest handshake? At 8pm on January 14, 2011 the latest attempt at the longest hand-shake commenced in New York Times Square and the existing record was smashed by semi-professional world record-breaker Alastair Galpin and Don Purdon from New Zealand and Nepalese brothers Rohit and Santosh Timilsina who agreed to share the new record after 33 hours and 3 minutes.
My search of the internet shows most cultures across the globe are hand-shakers. Some cultures prefer a firm grip; others a weak one. Some offer a short shake; others continue on and on. Some add in a kiss to the cheek and others include the hug-handshake by using the other hand too. The Boy Scouts shake with their left hands and other groups have developed secret handshakes to help identify one another. The handshake comes in many varieties. It’s global, like our own community here.
Our children understand the grace and courtesy associated with a handshake. They offer their right hand (mostly). They achieve a grip. They make eye contact. Some even smile. And, while this is most often seem as charming and cute coming from a two or three year old, a handshake is an important part of our culture.
Coming from a teenager or 20-something, a handshake is impressive. It should be expected, but these days it’s impressive. As adults, we utilize a handshake to greet those we know and those we are just meeting. It can signal the start of a relationship, the agreement of a deal, and the end of a meeting.
Certainly, around this building we shake a lot of hands. Has your child been here three years? They have shaken hands nearly 2,000 times. I’d venture to guess many of us adults have not shaken hands that many times in three years. We have some expert hand shakers here.
Seriously, a handshake. It’s our custom and tradition. It started with a greeting. It became our daily welcome. And now, for some, it’s a goodbye.