The state of things.

Yesterday I took a few lovely books over to my neighbor for her to share with her grandson.  Upon receiving them he began hugging me.

Grandma:  “He’s a hugger.”

I just stood there like a post…

Grandson:  “I was born real close to Valentines day and that’s why I love everyone so much.”  (paraphrased because I honestly can’t remember exactly what he said.)

It took me an embarrassingly long time to respond to his loving and normal display of gratitude on receiving my gift.

So what was that all about? 

Well you see, when I taught in California there were so many lawsuits going on involving teachers and inappropriate touch (more than one is too many!!!) that we were instructed NOT TO TOUCH OUR STUDENTS.  Those who did only touched the top of their little head, or their hands for proper instruction and help with holding a pencil.

This is all wrong.  Little kids need hugs and an appropriate show of affection from caregivers.  (And whether you know it or not your child’s teacher is a caregiver/stand in mother, protector, parapsychologist, as well as educator for your little darling)  😉  We do try to do it all and more each day and all without touching them for fear of being accused of inappropriate behavior.

It saddens me to realize how programmed I had become, and that the programming has persisted even into my retirement.

It makes me wonder is it just me?


Do all teachers feel/react like this nowadays?

Do parents worry about this kind of thing?

Do the students?

How has it come to this?

It makes me sad for the children.

10 thoughts on “The state of things.

  1. Lindy says:

    Lynda, AZ has the same laws regarding touching children. However, I taught in tiny little out-in-the-boonies school with 97% Hispanic students and Mexican mamas who are all huggers. In other words – in our school we ignored this law, at least through 4th grade which is what I taught. By 5th grade the boys no longer wanted anything to do with hugging – YUCK stuff! LOL!. The older girls would continue to hug but on their terms. Fortunately, it just wasn’t a problem in my school. The larger school districts were expected to adhere to the law.

    • pixilated2 says:

      I am relieved to know that children who live outside the larger metro areas are still living normally and without fear of a good hug! 🙂

  2. Teresa Kasner says:

    I agree with you. I think it’s sad that good teachers are made not to touch children due to the evils of the few bad teachers. If a kid wants to hug me I would hate to have to freeze up because of rules. I’m glad I’m not a teacher for that reason. Teachers sometimes spend more time with our kids than the parents do – and to have them spend so much time in an environment where they aren’t touched is sad indeed. 😦

    • pixilated2 says:

      It is a very real truth! With parents who work many children end up in school for “before school care” and then there is the school day, and after that there is “after school care.” So basically the day is: Get up, get dressed go eat breakfast at school (7:00 AM), school day, after school care (2:30 to 4:30 + or – ) and for some they unofficially wait around until 5 or 5:30!!! It is pathetic! Then it’s home, homework (maybe), dinner, TV and to bed… sick.

      Where is the love?

  3. Deb W says:

    Pretty sad when the paranoiac fear of legal b.s. (Rules and Regs) and the actions of a few sick bas—rds overrule the normal, healthy human need to give and receive touch. I seem to recall studies conducted on infants in Russian orphanages during the 60’s on the lack of touch and resulting psychological difficulties it created.
    Empathy is a hugely important part of a healthy society and doesn’t just fall out of the sky. Good for those who can follow their instincts and hug a child ’cause it’s the right thing to do. (No, on second thought… it’s good for all of us; ) xo D

    • pixilated2 says:

      Thank you for bringing this up Deb!

      As I recall, the difficulties were far more than psychological they were deadly. Many of hose poor babies failed to thrive and died. It was dreadful! I worry about our young children now because they are not learning appropriate physical interactions among peers and adults. If they don’t see and interact with others in a caring situation then the lack of care will be self perpetuating. Will we “phase out” touch? To what detriment to our future generations?

      Maybe it doesn’t matter to some, maybe it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme, but personally, I think it matters a lot and in ways we have yet to see the ramifications. Time will reveal all.

  4. missusk76 says:

    Oh, this is so sad, Lynda. We all need touch and children who freely offer hugs should have them reciprocated. It’s been mentioned as a question in my school – but I hug, and my principal is such a hugger, he might just get himself into trouble. 🙂 I do believe that one needs to be sensitive and in any situation be clear about the ‘hugee’s’ receptiveness, but isn’t that a legitimate lesson to be taught? Where better to teach it? It’s pretty hard to teach the skills of individual space variations and relationship boundaries within an affectionate family. Teachers can model appropriate, considerate affection outside of the family unit.

    Two of my granddaughters go to my school (the third will be in Kindy in September) and since I’m always hugging them and vice-versa, there are at least two classes that pretty much line up for hugs when they leave the library, and my 6’4 nephew hugs me all the time. Then there are a few teenage girls that seem to need a hug occasionally. I guess my take is that it is not an issue here, but there is an awareness of what could be if the litigation mentality gains momentem.

    They’ve already taken away so much because of the insurance industry’s fear of litigation. Please, let’s not let them take away hugs.

    • pixilated2 says:

      I gave hugs when a child’s parents were present, but otherwise it was hands off… However, I always acknowledged the hugs received with a “Thank you ______ I needed that!” and in a ‘group hug’ situation, well, it was hug back or fall down! 😉

      Still, there is something very intimate and personal about a hug. Hugs given leave the recipient open and vulnerable because there is a trust that it is given with love and respect for the recipient.

      And it only takes one evil individual to ruin it for everybody… forever after.

  5. Deb W says:

    Wow, if everyone was this passionate about hugging we’d have nothing to worry about… I (and I know that you will as well) am going to keep passing on “the force” as often as possible. “Love conquers all!” xoD

    • pixilated2 says:

      I am. I used to use music to help the children with reading. I would type out the words and we would learn the songs and sing along. Then when they went to their “Music Word Books” they were able to actually read the words!!! It was so much fun, and it was one of the NON scripted activities that I could get away with in my school. This one by Charlotte Diamond was just about everyone’s favorite:

      By Earl Robinson ASCAP and Charlotte Diamond SOCAN 1984
      © Charlotte Diamond Music Inc., as recorded on “10 Carrot Diamond”

      Nobody gets enough hugs a day
      ‘Cause the minimum number is four
      Now if you haven’t got Four Hugs today
      Then you better get some more.

      Four Hugs a day, that’s the minimum
      Four Hugs a day, not the maximum. (Twice)

      Step One, look them right in the eye
      Step Two, nose to nose
      Step Three, reach your arms
      Step Four, you can’t do any harm with…

      Don’t forget your Mama and Papa
      Your Grandma, your Grandpa
      And all your friends too,
      Brothers and Sisters, Aunts and Uncles
      And don’t forget your teachers too. We need…

      One, Two, Three and Four, we need
      One, Two, Three and Four, we need…


      Don’t forget to give Four Hugs today.

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