More hugs’they’re good for what ails us

According to a survey by Greg Rishberg of Northwestern University Medical School, Americans are just not getting enough hugs. He found that 98 percent of Americans want to be hugged more. Most babies get lots of hugs and loving touches. They thrive on it. So how come we don’t keep doing it when babies get older’ When a boy or girl reaches 4 or 5, we say, “Behave yourself! Be a little man! Sit up straight like a lady!” But he’s not a man and she’s not a lady. They’re just kids who desperately need what has meant so much to them. They may outgrow pants, shoes and dresses, but not their need for hugs. Ignore their embarrassment. Give them a wrap-around whenever you get close enough to do it. And while you’re at it, grab some of those older “kids,” the ones who are 40, 50, 60 and 70. Hug them too. They need it more than most of them are willing to admit. The facts are that lots of people today feel simply awful about themselves. Abuse and criticism have knocked the stuffings out of them. They smile bravely, but secretly they feel beneath contempt. Along comes the common hug’joyous, spontaneous, maybe awkward. It barrels past all the insecurities and wraps up its victim in a golden moment of sheer affection. You can talk all you want about the value of good books, eloquent sermons and fine art. But I’ll take one good hug any day. And while you’re at it, grab some of those older “kids,” the ones who are 40, 50, 60 and 70. Hug them too.’ An old poem by Spencer Free catches what I’m trying to say: HUGS “‘Tis the human touch in this world that counts The touch of your hand and mine, Which means far more to the fainting heart Than shelter and bread and wine; For shelter is gone when the night is o’er, And bread lasts only a day, But the touch of the hand and the sound of the voice Sing on in the soul always.”

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