Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Word-full Wednesday

Well, so it's supposed to be Wordless Wednesday again.  But, this is my blog, so I can do what I want with it, and by golly, I've got some words this Wednesday.  But first, here are some pictures I gathered during this week that I really wanted to share:

This is 'graffiti' written in the snow on the wall outside the library.  This made my day!  Only outside of a library will the 'bad boys' write e=mc(squared)!

Gabriel and Jo are actually starting to play together.  It is so great to watch their relationship start to unfold.  Jo is such a wonderful big sister.  She has much more patience with baby Gabe than her big sister does!

Elizabeth's Valentine's earrings.  Yes, she finally got her ears pierced.  My mother-in-law did it on Christmas the dining room...with a sharp point.  Yeah.  I would have remained un-pierced.

Ummm....yeah.  So this potato just looked really cool.
 Like a dinosaur foot or something.

So, about those words I have...I will start with one word:  HUGS

Now, this word in general is an up-beat, happy word.  It makes you feel good to think about it and it makes you feel good to get and to give one.  So why am I feeling anxiety over this word?  I will tell you.

This is why.  This is my very hug-able 12 year old daughter.  I do not remember this happening when I was a teenager.  I do not remember the irresistible urge to run around and hug people and be hugged back.  Maybe that was because I am not a big hugging person or maybe that was because I went to a small private school where hugs were outlawed.  Either way, I am having a hard time with all this hugging!

It started out as a few passive hugs in church.  Hello hugs between teenage friends.  They grated on my nerves...the limp arms being held out waiting for someone to slip into them and allow themselves to be draped with these limp arms, but then it progressed.  For some, it turned into a squeal and a run across the room to slam into a friend and squeeze the life out of them, but the more 'mature' crowd began to use the hugs as a form of acceptance,  (He won't hug me.  He must not like me anymore), or a form of possession (I am hugging him and hanging on his arm.  Now no one else can hug him.).  And this started to really bother me.  As the year has progressed, and all of our children have begun to mature and grow more into their adult bodies, I began to think more about the significance of these hugs.  Who was giving them?  Who was receiving them?  What was the purpose behind them?

So I asked Elizabeth those questions one night as we were relaxing before bed.  This conversation was sparked because Elizabeth informed me that she had finally gotten someone to hug her.  So, I thought, this has turned into a conquest!

I am an organizer.  I like to sort and rationalize.  I like to solve puzzles and put every piece in its place.  (Not that my house is organized...I am much better at smaller projects, like my sock drawer.  Yeah, buddy, it's a rainbow in there.  I'm the sock MASTER!)  So, true to my personality, I began to disect the anatomy of the hug with Elizabeth.

Now, most of you who are reading this post either are teenagers now (or close to it) or have been one in the past.  So, bear with me and think about what is going through the minds of typical teenage boys and girls.  A hug starts with a desire.  You do not see teens running around and hugging people that they don't like.  So, you have to start with a desire.  That can be a simple, innocent desire:  Girl to girl: You are my friend.  I am human and like human touch.  Let's hug.  Or, it can be more planned:  You are not my friend.  I want you to be my friend.  You hug your friends.  If I can get you to hug me, then you will be my friend.  Or, it can be devious:  I do not like you, but I don't want you to know that because I can use you.  I will hug you so you think I am your friend and I can maintain control over you.

But the part that really bothers me is the girl to guy thing.  Please, tell me if I am wrong, but guys don't really just go around and hug, guy to guy.  Handshakes, yes.  A slap on the back, I get it.  But hugs?  Frontal contact hugs?  Yeah.  Right.  So, why would any guy want to hug a girl?  I don't think  you have to search too far to find the answer to THAT one.

So, what is the TRUE purpose behind these hugs?  To say 'hello'?  So, say it!  To be sure of friendship?  It takes more than a hug to be a friend.

In Youth Group tonight, they were talking about this, among other things, and Mr Kevin's comments on it (as told to me by Elizabeth) were that hello hugs were fine, but there was a line that shouldn't be crossed.  And I fully agree.  100%  But how do we know where that line is?  How does a teenager, who hugs for so many different reasons, step back and say, well now, that hug crossed the line.  Let's try it again.  And for some teens, it is hard for them to say to a girl, you know, I really don't like you that way.  Can you please give me some space?

My bottom line on this for right now until our teens gain a little more maturity and practice in friend and 'romantic' relationships is this:  Everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarten:

Keep your hands to yourself!


  1. So I couldn't hug Beth?! I am kinda confused!! We are friends, its a hello?

  2. Yeah, I know. But then you get the girls (who shall remain un-named, but you know who they are!) who hang all over certain boys (who will remain nameless as well) in the name of 'friendship'. So, how do you say, Ok, you can hug this person once a day or these people can hug and these can't. It's hard to find the line and then to draw it and keep clear of it. Also, it is getting a little out of control in Elizabeth's school, which is NOT in a closely supervised situation like the church youth group. So, I feel that it is better to apply Paul's advice in Romans 14:21 to this situation which says 'It is better to not eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that will cause your brother (or sister) to fall.' The stronger ones need to help the weaker ones define boundaries and adhere to them.

  3. hugs are a sign of friendship, without hugs, we would be NOWHERE

  4. I agree, Anna, but unfortunately, there are a lot of teenagers who have a hard time drawing the line between what is friend hugging and what goes beyond that. We are trying to raise our children to respect themselves and others and reserve physical intimacy for the husband/wife that God chooses for them. Hugs definitely have their place and are encouraged in safe environments like in the family or in same sex friendships.