Generation Hug, Grrrls, Living in This World

Generation Hug

At a meeting with returning students, the class of 2013 heard a lot about how at Downtown High School "we don't put our hands on each other."

This is Principal J's euphemism for the "f" word. He doesn't tolerate fisticuffs and is ashamed that most years there are as many as three or four incidents of "hand on behavior," as he put it to the parents on Wednesday evening. He is proud of a recent year with no such incidents, practically unheard of for a large, diverse American high school.

Not yet indoctrinated to the language of the Downtown High School culture, the freshmen were a bit puzzled.

Perhaps if someone had said, "We don't fight here."

But they kept hearing the words, "We don't put our hands on each other."

So someone asked the question, "Is it okay if we hug?"


I first noticed this hugging thing when #1 Son went to college five years ago, or rather when I went to pick him up for Fall Break and all his male friends hugged him goodbye. I'm a hugger myself, and I have to remember to let others take the lead when I'm in the role of their pastor. Even asking doesn't make it right when you're in that position. But I love to hug even my less huggy family members — you know who you are — and my friends.

Hugging at Downtown High School, apparently, is okay, though LP clearly distinguishes between the
friendly greeting and the icky PDA that couples really ought to keep to
themselves in her opinion, thank you very much. I'm sure there is further refining of the ground rules to come.

(And if I once got in trouble for smooching by my locker, we'll remember I was young then. And foolish. Because my boyfriend's mother worked in the school attendance office. And she had my mother's phone number. And she wasn't afraid to use it.)

I'm happy that people have become less formal, more open and more expressive. It gives me hope for the day the world is in the hands, or the arms, of Generation Hug.

12 thoughts on “Generation Hug”

  1. Great post Songbird, I notice that my children and their friends will hug one another freely without any sexual connotations involved. They are expressive and liberated in a good way.

  2. Yesterday there was a young lady holding a sign on campus that said “Free Hugs!” So I went and got me one. Can there be too many hugs?
    Fisticuffs? Who says that!?

  3. I grew up in a family that didn’t hug all that often, so hugging is something I’ve had to learn. My daughters, especially NSLS, have long been more natural huggers and often hug their friends. But I was both touched and intrigued to see that the Kid and his male friends hugged last week when they said good bye. Brought tears to my eyes, actually.
    These are all kids who’ve grown up with lectures about “good touch, bad touch” and “stranger danger”–things I never heard growing up. I’m glad that hugging is part of their culture despite all that.

  4. My 15 yo SBC and his pals lost a freind to suicide this summer. I’ve noticed that they’ve become very demonstrative– lots of hugs amongst the guys and “I love yous” said aloud. Our broken hearts mend slowly….

  5. I must remember to hug you next time I see you. NOBODY in my family are huggers…and darn it I need more! Thanks for the tech help. I did my first Friday Five and linked my blog……I give thanks to God for your presence in my community!!!!

  6. One very dear minister of my acquaintance – who died 20 years ago tomorrow and that is so sad – said you need at least 10 hugs a day to survive! If only….
    I think one of the worst things about the boarding-school I went to was that one went weeks at a time without touching anybody else – a friendly hug was totally unknown all those years ago. Alas….

  7. I suppose I’m at the upper end of Generation Hug – as a child I was known among my friends for the giant hugs I would leave them with. Last weekend I went to the State Fair with a friend I’ve known since Kindergarten and her boyfriend. As our day came to a close and we were saying goodbye, I gave my friend a hug and then went in for a handshake with her BF – but he went in for the hug! It was only awkward for a millisecond before it felt totally natural. We all need hugs on a way more regular basis! Thanks for your post!

  8. here’s a virtual hug (((songbird))) and another thank you: my book arrived yesterday! whee!

  9. Generation hug, I like that! It’s so true too. The youth I work with are constantly giving and receiving hugs in the most platonic form. It’s a beautiful thing!

  10. OK, so I would have had to have clarification too as I initially thought it was PDA stuff too!! Yes, I’m old. And yes, it is wonderful to see hugging become so “in” now. I am such a hugger. HUGS to you Songbird!

  11. I’ve raised huggers as well… they would find it hard not to hug their friends hello… hmmmm…..

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