What are Basic Needs?

What are basic needs? Are you thinking food, clothing, shelter, clothing, air, water, etc.? It is difficult, if not impossible, to learn if our basic needs have not been met.

Think about when you are very hungry, too cold, too hot, sick or very tired. Does this make you grouchy, grumpy, and irritable? Do these things make it hard to concentrate, focus or remember? Do you lose your patience? Are you a good listener? Do you communicate well?

Do you realize that the majority of family disagreements (yes, we mean fights) occur when family members are hungry, cold, sick or tired?

As important as food, clothing, air, water, and shelter are to human development, communication and learning are the basic needs of being needed, noticed, and touched. In fact, many would argue that the basic needs of being needed, noticed and touched rank higher for humans than do food, water, air, etc.

If humans were given a choice between being needed, noticed, and touched and food, air, water, etc., they would choose being needed, noticed and touched...even if it meant the loss of their lives! Yes, it is just that serious!

We already know that babies who are never touched or held, or cuddled, or talked to can die. It's called "Failure to Thrive." We all desperately need a sense of belonging. We need to be loved. We need attachment to other human beings who love us unconditionally.

We know that elderly people or people with disabilities who are placed in nursing homes and are never visited, talked to or touched and who do not feel needed...they, too, like babies, may (and many do) die! It is not just babies, elderly and the disabled who can suffer if needed, noticed, and touched is not met.

So will every human on this planet. And instinctively we know this. Now, being needed, noticed, and touched is sought after by all of us, because we know without it we will die. If we cannot get needed, noticed and touched through positive means, we will choose whatever means it takes.

Many are reinforced through negative attention-getting devices or behavior. And we have just explained the phenomenon of gangs. Do our young people get their needed, noticed and touched needs met by being in a gang? ABSOLUTELY!

If we want to change that behavior, we must offer the individuals a means by which their needed, noticed and touched needs are met through positive means and are greater than the attention they are receiving that is negative.

Basic Needs Challenge

The next time there is discord in your family, stop and see if someone is either too hot, too cold, sick, hungry, or tired. OR if someone needs to be needed, noticed, or touched.

These can be fixed quite easily, most times. We can get a sandwich, eat a piece of bread, or an apple...take a nap...take a warm shower...OR give someone a hug and then watch the dynamics of the situation change. When our basic needs are not met, it blows everything else out of proportion.

It is important to note that if people are worried, depressed, frustrated, or discouraged, the same theory applies, because our emotions are part of our basic needs as well.

Do you feel like your family is in a time famine? Are you feeling as if there isn’t enough time to meet your basic needs? How can you possibly do one more thing? Take a good look at what is filling your time.  You might want to look at things like the number of hours the family watches T.V. How about the time that is spent on the computer, playing electronic games? Have your extra curricular activities turned into extra, extra, time-consuming events that are no longer fun or meaningful?  Is your family going to bed at a regular time each night? Are you ‘All’ getting your needed amount of sleep and do you all arise in a timely manner and prepare yourselves to start the day with energy and learning power?

The bottom line is: Are family members prepared to meet the day feeling refreshed, fed, safe, healthy, confident, and happy?

Where Can We Find Resources To Meet Our Basic Needs?

Families can use community, county, or state resources if necessary, for food, clothing, medical assistance, shelter or additional references.

Also, parents can work with school administration or through school programs like: Title 1, Head Start, Even Start, or any of the "At Risk" programs.

Many parents do not need these services, but want to address basic needs. Look at the checklist and see if there are areas where your family might want to polish existing skills.

As a parent and head of your household you may be in need of acquiring additional education to finish your GED (high school), gain skills for new employment, apply for citizenship or learn English.  Connect with your local school districts adult education program. You can find this reference in your local school district directory or on their website. The principal at your local school could also help you find needed contacts.  The Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs, Utah State Office of Education, Work Force Services, Job Services etc. higher education community services, before and after school programs, government offices and faith based-organizations may also be of help to you.

Many classes are available to build and sharpen parental skills and to strengthen family leadership. Your school, classroom teacher and PTA will have a listing.  Contact your local PTA president to find where opportunities are available for involvement in special school projects or events would that supports your student and Family Education Plan goals.  Explore ways to volunteer in the classroom, at home or in the community to share and extend your light of learning.

Basic Needs

» What are Basic Needs?

» Parent-Talk: Communicate with Your Child

» Developing Self-Esteem

Character & Values

» Universal Virtues

» Being a Good Citizen

Learning Skills

» Reading: Turn It On!

» Getting Out & About

» Homework Survival Kit

» Student Education Plan