[Disclaimer: Sensitive ContentBefore reading further into this blog, please note that it discusses sensitive topics, particularly related to domestic situations and struggles. The content may be distressing or triggering for some readers. The intention is to explore thought-provoking themes and real-life situations, fostering awareness and understanding. Thank you for your consideration.]

What irony! As a teacher, how many times have I called out in my class, “Raise your hand!” making it a way of answering to avoid chaos in a classroom full of young students who could all shout out their answers at once, making it impossible to hear any single response.

To ensure I hear one answer clearly and not miss the others, I, as a teacher, ask, “Raise your hand if you know the answer,” “Who has done their homework? Raise your hand,” “Who hasn’t done their homework? Raise your hand,” or even “How many of you wish to study this chapter? Raise your hand.” I might even ask, “How many of you have had a healthy breakfast today before our first class? Raise your hand.” Or “How many of you have parents or family members working in the law-making department of the government? Raise your hand. Raise your hand if your father is an advocate! Raise your hand if you wish to skip today’s class…”

So many “raise your hand” situations.

Have you, as a student or even as an audience member, been asked to raise your hand? Speakers, too, sometimes request a show of hands.

Or are you a teacher, perhaps in a school, college, or university? Have you practiced this “raise your hand” method to gather and collect answers?

I remember one time when I didn’t want to disrupt the classroom’s silence, so I asked for a silent raise of hands to avoid disturbing our ongoing discussion. Once a room full of 17-year-olds starts talking, it can be quite challenging to get them to quiet down. I often have to threaten them with the possibility of losing attendance marks, additional homework, or extending the class duration to maintain some order. Or of course, subtler methods — I don’t hate them, I just wish for silence, once I used a sound that distracts them, and trust me, I am no the threaten-type.

But let’s not delve into the intention of wanting silence so I could teach, and cover all the syllabus— the constant self-implied-pressure of finishing the prescribed syllabus within the academic year while doing justice to every chapter; that’s a topic for another day.

Today, let’s focus on the concept of “raising your hand.”

After I finish my daily school routine, I move on to my other mediation-related tasks, whether it’s handling the administration of my mediation firm or attending mediation inquiries. If I’m lucky, I might even have two people who have decided to enter mediation to resolve their issues.

In one such mediation, there was a significant point of contention: whether one spouse had raised their hand in a manner that constituted physical abuse. The other spouse vehemently denied it, claiming it was just a casual arm movement and not an intentional act of violence.

After a series of tense exchanges, it became clear that this “physical abuse” incident involved a mere touch of the arm, without any force. The situation was complex, with two spouses and their two minor children living together. The tension had escalated from a heated argument the previous night, and it reached its peak when one of them raised their hand. When asked, the spouse who had raised their arm described it as an impulsive action, one that should be forgiven, given the promises made between spouses were unfulfilled. There were no physical marks, just the raising of a hand.

A simple apology was sought, but the spouse’s uncontrollable urge to avoid admitting to “physical abuse” hindered the apology-giving heart to frame. The spouse maintained that it was only a raise of the hand, not an act of hitting or beating. The realization of self-control had come later, and there was no intention beyond the initial raising of the hand.

My thoughts wandered to another perspective. It was only a “raise of hand,” similar to a child in my class raising their hand. Raising one’s hand doesn’t necessarily mean providing an answer; it’s a step behind giving a response. I don’t yet know what to do with this reflection, but I will address it and hopefully write about it in the future. It exposes a bit of vulnerability, and I hope you can allow me that space.

To conclude, I found myself wondering if the children in my own classroom had ever heard shouts at home like, “Don’t raise your hand!” or “Why did you raise your hand?”— the teacher within me was now birthing these questions in my mind. At school, these children were now hearing these words in a different context.

Yes, my wondering is the conclusion, and I don’t have a concrete resolution to this new thought that’s captivating my other set of thoughts.

This piece might just be the beginning of a my new research endeavor in psychology or a broader field – “The Synthesis of Raising a Hand.” If you have any immediate thoughts without further consideration, please send them my way. You could say we either use fire to burn down the house or use the same fire to make rotis.

With this, I bid farewell. It’s time for school. (I wrote this during my morning rush of cooking, getting ready, and driving to school, and it’s now precisely 7:48 am!)

Maybe, to really conclude, while some countries choose to fight with rockets and bombs at this moment, I struggle with this mere thought in my mind in my country.