Older student needs seemed to have moved up Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs. The thing is, I'm not sure where the needs they demonstrated fell in the hierarchy.
When she was an adolescent, running headlong into her most rebellious years, I learned how to engage her in a few minutes of affirmation for both of us. I asked her to brush my hair.
Pretty easy, right?
There was a reason "braid therapy" worked with the "hardest" students in our program for at-risk kids. We all need human touch. Positive touch can soothe and comfort in a way words can't.
They would slather lotion on their arms and legs, and anywhere else they could reach like icing on a cake. It wasn't uncommon for them to go through a large bottle (I'm talking 20-24 oz size here) in less than two weeks.
I'm not sure where the need for touch falls in Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs. Is it physiological, safety, esteem? Guess what? My students taught me that it doesn't really matter.
These young adults had identified a seemingly in-born need, and how to appropriately satisfy it. How wise of them! It made me wonder if there could be a correlation between having little extrinsically, and understanding more intrinsically...and why I was so blessed to have them as teachers.