Friday, October 17, 2014


I heard this statement from a teacher recently.

                               "Kids who feel loved at home, come to school to learn.
                                     Those who don't, come to school to be loved."

It is a very sad thing that the rules for teachers have had to be changed over the years.  Decades ago teachers thought nothing of giving kids a big hug.  Now, all this is frowned upon and teachers are discouraged from doing this.

Gone are the days of Mayberry and Walton's Mountain where there was always someone available at home to listen to kids' stories when they came in from school, to feed them fresh baked cookies and milk, and to kiss them better for the slightest hurt.  We have become so busy with both parents working, shuttling kids from football practice to piano lessons and the like, that in the rush, a good old hug can get unintentionally left out of the equation.

What does a hug do for you?  I can tell you what it does for me.  It tells me that someone cares enough to reach into my personal space and not only touch me, but expend some good energy, putting their arms around me and giving me a really good squeeze.  It bridges a gap.  It touches my heart because, facing one another, chest to chest, our hearts really are beating together.  Brief hugs are just snatches at closeness.  They are not the same as a long, chin over the shoulder, back patting kind of hug.

What does it require to give a meaningful hug?  It requires a decision to actively show affection towards another person.  It means allowing someone into your personal space, making you more vulnerable. It requires time - a long, meaningful hug rather than an automatic half pie, slap on the back kind of hug.

Some people are really good huggers!  Some don't like being hugged.  Perhaps they have never been in such close proximity to another person or maybe they have had a negative experience where trust has been breached during a hug.  They may have come from a family where openly-affectionate behavior was not regularly observed.  I had a friend who was an 'A-frame hugger'.  She was never comfortable being 'that' close to another person, so she only let arms and shoulders touch.  Since we were very good friends we hugged her so many times that she eventually reciprocated and enjoys the closeness now.

Hugs and cuddles say so much more than words.  The human touch is most missed when people lose their spouse.  Our kids need to feel our loving touch much more than we realize.  It gives them a feeling of security knowing they are valued, accepted and cared for.

Be an everyday hugger.

Written by Sally Burgess
Forefront Families LLC

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