Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Have You Hugged Someone Today?

A hug delights and warms and charms,
that must be why God gave us arms.

—Author Unknown

I just found out that this is National Hug Week! (Who makes up these things anyway?) So, have you hugged your kids today? Your spouse? A friend? How about yourself? You deserve a hug, too! I love it when I pick up my kids from summer camp and their little friends give me hugs. I can barely get my teenagers to wave at me as they head out the door, so I know I’d better enjoy these little preschool hugs while I can! Kids are always great huggers, even if their hugs smear a little jam on your shirt.

Unfortunately, as a society, we don’t hug as much as we used to. More often than not, we’re connecting with each other through e-mail or cell phone. Have you ever received an e-mail from a friend that said, “You’ve just been hugged!”? It just doesn’t feel as good as a real hug! It’s easier, of course, to hug our children, but even they aren’t getting as much affection as previous generations. Author Rae Pica writes in the article, “Skinship: Better Bonding with Baby,” “Where infants are concerned, America is considered a ‘low-touch’ society. In many other cultures, babies are held for hours, stroked when in need of soothing, and carried close to the bodies of their mothers. In ours, babies spend lengthy periods alone in cribs; we fear that unless they’re allowed to ‘self-soothe,’ they’ll be spoiled and grow up dependent; and, though we may carry our infants, they’re more likely to be ‘containerized’ than carried body to body.”

When I was a teenager, I read a book called Love by Leo Buscaglia, who was often called “The Love Doctor.” He wrote, “We are constantly moving away from ourselves and others. The scene seems to be how far away you can get from another person, not how close you can get to them. I’m all for going back to the old-fashioned thing of touching people.” Although he wrote these words back in 1972, I don’t think we’ve gotten any “huggier” today. And I have a feeling that Dr. Buscaglia wouldn’t be too pleased with our “electronic hugs.”

So, why don’t you do something really radical today and give someone a hug? Start with your kids and your spouse. Then really stretch yourself and give a hug to a friend or a new acquaintance. Chances are, you’re going to make that person feel really loved. But, even more shockingly, you might find that you needed that hug, too! The old saying is true: You can't give a hug without getting a hug. Have you hugged someone today?

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  1. Hey, Susan, great blog! I'm a HUGE fan of hugs. Believe they cure all kinds of ills. In fact, I read something once about how we need 4 hugs a day to survive, 8 to "maintain," and 12 to grow. I don't know if that's fact or fiction, but I do know that a study by University of North Carolina researchers found that hugs increase the "bonding" hormone oxytocin and decrease the risk of heart disease. And it won't come as any surprise that the results were greater for women than for men!

  2. Rae, thanks so much for this great information! Isn't it interesting to know that we can actually improve our health with hugs? Now that's a prescription we can all afford!

  3. Susan,

    I recall seeing shows, like Fox News, where school aged children were being SUED for hugging each other. Can you believe this? Sued for wanting to hug your friend. I recall, back in the 1980s when I went to high school, always hugging my friends. It was the THING to do. It was a sign of affection and friendship nonetheless. But since the late 1990s and early 2000's, many parents not fans of hugging, or their children, have decided hugging is a crime. Pathetic if you as me. I LOVE hugging my husband, my family, my twins and my friends. Hugging is fun and is a sign of affection. What has own world come to when we can not longer show outward affective? God Help Us!!

  4. It is sad, isn't it? When my now-18-year-old son was in kindergarten, I remember his teacher telling me that he was hugging and kissing all the other kids, and it would have to STOP! I couldn't believe it. Here was this sweet little boy trying to show his friends how much he liked them, and I had to explain to him that he wasn't allowed to hug them. It was horrible. My twins currently go to (Christian) preschool, and there are plenty of hugs and kisses dispensed by teachers and kids alike. My kids really feel loved there, and it's wonderful. It's too bad that showing our affection for each other has been twisted into something bad. Everyone needs hugs!

  5. It is true that a hug is a powerful thing. When my kids are down, "a Mommy hug" is what we call it, and it makes everything better.


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