To Hug or Not to Hug?

Leave it to the New York Times to bring us these little snippets into the social issues of our day. I was reading the Times today on-line when I waded into the latest controversy separating parents from teens: hugging.

Apparently, the hottest and coolest thing among teens is hugging. Hugging to say “hello”. Hugging to say “goodbye”. Hugging to say “What’s Up?”. Kids have decided human contact has replaced the handshake and the high-five as the way show affection between members of the opposite sex … or the same sex.

What makes this interesting is the reaction of those not of that age – parents and teachers. Those quoted in the article pointed to hugging as a source of “peer pressure”. Its even gone so far as some school districts across the country banning hugging. One teacher in the article actually said “Touching and physical contact is very dangerous territory”.

OK everyone. Let’s take a deep breath.

Are we ready to continue now?

Look, I am not a parent but I have spent enough time around kids during my years of covering high school sports and the like to know that kids hugging is not an evil thing. I would prefer to have boys and girls who date hug rather than the other things they could be doing.

I know my column about saving the sport of kickball did not go over well with everyone, but I see this “hugging” issue as much of the same: political correctness run amok. I know when I was a kid, I used to hug guys and girls as a way of saying that “I’m cool with you”. Even today, I prefer to hug my friends. Obviously, with women it may be a bit more accepted than hugging a guy, but I hug just the same.

I do believe that more often than not, kids needs supervision and guidance and don’t always know best. However, in a world where we have so much hate, violence and antagonism, I think the kids got it right. Maybe we should all throw caution to the wind … and hug.

I know most of us could use one.

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