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15 February, 2016


An ordained friend of mine wrote recently about the need for school students to "connect" through technology today. He also commented on the irony that teachers are cautioned these days about "connecting" with students through old-fashioned hugs.

A sad fact is that spontaneous hugging seems to be on the decline in societies where fears of abuse and litigation override the simple pleasures of an affectionate hug.

What a shame! This, at a time in our day and age when I think that young people need assuring hugs from adults more than ever before. Boy, could I have used a few hugs from teachers in my day. The only physical contact that I can recall was the repetitive sting of a well-placed strap on the palm of my reluctantly outstretched hand.

As a male from the old school, I was naturally cautious about hugging at one time. Initially, when in doubt, I asked whether my potential 'hugee' wished to be hugged. The response was always a receptive one so I now just throw caution to the wind…What the heck! I’m not a school teacher, thank God.

Maybe this subject has something to do with my declining years. According to researchers, hugging and physical touch becomes increasingly important with age. The older you are, the more fragile you are physically, so contact becomes increasingly important for good health. Studies have shown that loneliness, particularly with age, can also increase stress and have adverse health effects. By hugging someone, we instantly feel closer to that person with a resultant decrease in feelings of loneliness.

Researchers also tell us that hugging results in a special chemical reaction that is conducive to a sense of well-being and bonding.

A recent news item from London, ON noted the available services of Dan Oudshoorn, a snuggle therapist who offers non-sexual snuggles to clients needing this kind of human contact. He states simply that "everyone deserves to be held. No one is untouchable."

Personally, I am happy to be the giver and recipient of spontaneous hugs when appropriate. As well as those traditional flowers, chocolates and cards, a hug also remains a timely gift for special occasions -- and beyond.

Let's be honest.  Everybody loves a hug…They cost nothing…They are priceless!

Hugs speak volumes when words fail.

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