I met with a student yesterday who shook my hand. Generally students don't shake hands. It is a formality that this generation is not big on. But this student shook my hand. Or more appropriately, handed me a limp hand to hold for a moment.
I don't remember exactly old I was, but sometime in my early childhood, maybe around 6 years of age, my family had the honor of being the family who greeted people at the church service. I don't know why our church did this, but every week a family stood there shaking hands with people as they arrived and left. My father took a moment that morning to instruct me, and probably my brother too, but he would have been 3 or so and not really into shaking hands, on the proper way to shake hands. It involves the whole hand, a firm grip and approximately two pumps of the hands. One should not be timid about the hand shake. Do not offer just the fingers or a wimpy grasp. But don't overdo it either. Too strong a grip or too long in the hold, and it is as bad as a limp one.
I don't know why he felt this was important to teach me at that time, but I am reminded of the lesson every time I get a bad hand shake. This particular student is quite convinced that she is charming. She works as a waitstaff person, and I think she is probably fairly successful. She maintains eye contact, she twirls her hair and tilts her head *just so* and is not shy about displaying "the girls". I am sure there are people out there who do find all of that charming. Where she loses points is in the hand shake. If she wants to appear truly sincere, she should develop a strong, purposeful hand shake. As it is she is all limp fingertips. Not sincere.
So thanks Dad. I can't prove it, but I am quite sure that having learned the art of a solid hand shake has served me well in my life.