The following was recently posted on Facebook:
I responded with the following "essay":
Doing this for/to a student - hugging, has been for a long time now perceived as "bad", not professional or correct.... in the teaching or care realms - not kosher, but iffy, "questionable" and even frightening...
As humans, today, this is “where we are at". Disconnected, cold and fearful, we question all closeness behaviour.
It's one of the subliminal reason's why many teachers quit. Their lot is fraught with discouragement, an impossibility to offer what we crave to give: i.e.: encouragement. There is now so little human in the concept of humanity, and less and less tangible connection in classrooms today...
Basically, academic environments are nothing more than mirror reflections of the world beyond their walls - walls which separate us from each other, from those very individuals who deeply need us to care because there isn’t much out there that says they are worth anything. And so, they get angrier and increasingly violent.
Hugs? That normal human reaction to connection since the beginning of time is now perceived to be an embarrassment, and worse... Ironically, we have replaced this euphemistically archaic practice with aggressive "whacks!" called "high fives", watered down symbols of attack called "fist-bumps" and illusions of pretend closeness resembling more "warfare of the hearts and minds" than gifts of sharing. But then, what’s the problem? Pretense at closeness through symbolic gestures of spontaneous pseudo “touching” are better than nothing, aren't they? They certainly take less time - that thing we too often waste in our haste to get somewhere... “wherever that is”...
Yes, a real hug, a "holding close", takes time... A minute? Hell! To a child, after overcoming the shock, a minute would be like winning the lottery - so unreal! That’s how rare hugs of that wondrousness are today. But then, time is always the main factor in contemporary life... “wasting it”, that is - even for a short period, such waste is considered sacrilegious...
In fact, in our era, holding a child close; feeling the tension melt away and the rise of confidence fill the void is almost a lost art. To hold an adolescent in this way has become, for both adults and teens involved, "discomfortable"; a reminiscence of being babied. It’s just not common in our times to be close to those we say we love or care about. We have emojis for that, don't we?
“Real” hugs? Well, their perceived as “odd” - clingy, if not worse.... Strong people don’t hug. Weak ones do... They make us feel “imprisoned”, like vulnerable victims of something.... Hugs imply castration via the most abused word in our era: “safety” which implies that the one receiving requires protection rather than encouragement. We’ve lost track of the fact that such an honest closeness actually refuels and strengthens the resolve of a receiver to once again strive to truly be free and fly. We all need such hugs as we evolve throughout our lives. They remind us of how precious connection is, especially in a world which fears it, denies it and even loathes it.
When was it, that such a gift to children we are entrusted with, that caring beyond simply saying it, became a sin - simply because we now see evil in everything, even goodness?
As parents and teachers, we increasingly see and encounter our kids angry today - really angry. And we don’t get it... We control their thoughts and actions into their 20s and 30s. And we don’t get it. We rage at schools and teachers as if the world’s inequities are their fault rather than praise them for doing the best they can to help "our" children and teens survive the mess we are all in and which they are inheriting... and still, we don’t get it!
The world is suffering greatly from the damages done to our eco-systems and the destructions we do to ourselves through incessant wars and turmoil. Teens, because of it all, feel encased in an antiquated rigidity and formality and pain and anxiety and depression. Why? Our systems define them as lost causes unless they abandon their dreams and no longer submissively sit passive as we “manipulate their lives”. And fearfully, for them, there is no longer anyone who dares hug those pains away without being accused of something else.
For decades now, teachers have been "ordered" to view their wards as “distant” numbers and ourselves as cold conveyors of a tomorrow devoid of hope.
When did the once revered profession of teaching become a passionless passion, now perceived as nothing more than a babysitting service for each stage of the lives of “our” children we promised we would unquestionably love and care for? Since our entry into virtual realities, it has become easier and easier to lose ever more traction in the "real" realties of life where our ego-systems have increasingly begun deteriorating. And despite this devolution in the process of human connection awareness experienced by teachers during 5 to 6 hours of everyday, even on weekends teachers just can’t let go of the pains they encounter - that of the children and teens who cry alone a rage that rises from deep down within them and which increasingly gets aggressively expressed in school.
Why is it, therefore, that they are no longer worth just one minute of our time? All they want from us is a warm feeling of connectivity flowing through their veins, a show of trust and encouragement to give them the strength to once again attempt to tackle, to offset the fears that the world, they are slated to become a part of, imposes upon them. All children and teens, today, feel that they are not worthy to take their place in this world as care givers of tomorrow. They definitely need a hug. And if teachers can't give it to them, who in the hell will?
They're certainly not getting it from anywhere else.
From its very inception, the idea, the expression of “Woke” has been a deeply honest display of awareness - an "awakedness" of only those who know how troubling actions and attitudes can truly be. This is especially true within a collective which has come to be so full of itself it no longer cares about anyone or anything but itself - a time when self-esteem (how we feel about ourselves based on a superficial collective mantra dictates what is acceptable) supersedes an internalized and mature self-respect and joy.
That being said. Though all earnest intentions of great consequence are genuine, their fate is to often fall into the hands of exploiters. Woke is one of these. In the hands of the most arrogant among us, it has come to attain such levels of toxicity that it will not be long before everyone suffers the consequences of our see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil pretenses built around this appropriated woke “purportedly” means.
As stated, there have always been and always will be those who confiscate, who abscond with that which can be disfigured and remolded into a snake-oil concoction, a manipulation, a divisive tool of the masses which is then used as a cudgel against those who do not think as the perpetrator does.
Sadly, for woke to be a weapon of choice it needs not only a conquering evil but also a cadre of submissive fools. Woke, in the hands of these two demographics then easily becomes a fascist mirror reflection of its once earnest self. Appropriated, it is now an ode to superiority gone mad and moralistic bombast of the worst puritan kind. It has become an appropriation made insane by narcissistic individuals and self righteous groups who use shame and canceling and rejection to achieve their means. Even seen to be legitimate governments, corporations, honored associations, and institutions have succumbed to its siren call.
Is this in fact a fear response of being discovered faulty or less than promoted? Is it arrogance seeking to elevate itself above the fray - (lest the crowds discover the truth of their oh-so-superior authoritarian intentions in the abuse of the concept of "Woke"?)
Without the nurturing of control and evil in our times, Woke could not be the unintended moralistic plague that it has become. Even though good things, good intentions at conception, actually seek to wrap us in the warmth of their wisdom and giftedness, evil, always in the wings, is always ready to pounce. And how is that possible? Easy. It is what it is... evil. It appropriates and absconds with a valid precept in order to rot its innards and serve it as truth. And this is done to achieve an ultimate goal: power - to dominate and rule rather than lead and guide.
And if evil seeks to pursue, tempt, subdue and enslave - (and its goals always are), its weapon of choice is often what we think “we own” for legitimate intents and purposes. And so, unquestioning, and even gullible, we trust - considering it normal to feel safe in the havens of our democracies. But often, we become lazy, apathetic and no longer engaged in the protection of those same democracies. And there lies the rub... How easy it is to fall prey to that which seeks to destroy our illusions simply because we are too open to "virtually" anything because we are too comfortable and unconcerned.
But then, as all other incantations-become-evil have done before, Woke, at its worst, will dissipate - and we will once more strive harder to purify ourselves, our societies, our organizations and our institutions.
But this time... is this true? If it is, how can we think that it will easily come to pass before serious damage is realized to have been done to the very structural foundation of our worlds - the very core of our now tainted democratic principles? What of the damage to our schools and the children who attend them, our freedoms and values? What of all the divisiveness, the victimhood obsessions, the identity politics? These will not go away willingly. For the next several decades, we will be left with nothing less than toxic remnants of our own follies. A cult of victimization and memes of superior moralism which will continue to create an ever-slower healing of festering wounds incised by “our” new world order of pointing fingers before we are pointed at, of shaming those "not like us" and of cancel culture neo-puritanism.
“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words can never hurt me..............”
Bring on the witches of Salem... Lest we forget? That time of “I am pure and you are not” is once again upon us.
Bernard Poulin. . .