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.
Bernard Poulin. . .