Wednesday, March 4, 2015


transitive verb
:  to press tightly especially in the arms
a :  congratulate
b :  to hold fast :  cherish <hugged his miseries like a sulky child — John Buchan
:  to stay close to <the road hugs the river>

When I was just out of high school, I volunteered in a nursing home.  I loved associating with the residents there.  However one particular lady there scared me. She looked about 200 years old .  She was in a wheelchair, and she would wheel through the halls screaming with her unkempt wiry gray hair.  I avoided her.

Until one day I decided to conquer my fear.  I approached her and took her flailing, panicky hand in mine.  She stopped screaming and clasped my hand as if I was her only lifeline.  She just wanted to feel loved.  She wanted to feel human despite what time had robbed from her.

Humanity is described as the quality of life.  I think our human interaction helps us feel human.  Touch, a kind word,  a hug, and even a smile can improve someone's humanity.

I teach a Leadership class to 6th graders and the the other day I told them that according to a study, humans need 12 hugs a day for growth.  

"We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth." (Psychotherapist Virginia Satir) 

I explained physical hugs are so important, but according to Stephen Covey, states hugs can be physical, verbal, visual or environmental. 

I love one of the definitions of hug:  "to hold fast or cherish".  That's what my friend in the nursing home wanted.    She wanted to be hugged, cherished, touched, and seen as a human being.

We all want that.  We all need hugs.  I challenged my students to give 12 hugs that day, because I believe we receive "hugs" as we give hugs to others.   As for me, I am working on giving "hugs" to my family, friends, and those I come in contact with every day.  

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