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Hug or Handshake

April 9, 2013


1.  to clasp tightly in the arms, especially with affection; embrace.
2.  to cling firmly or fondly to; cherish: to hug an opinion.


Are you a hugger?  I like hugs, but I’m not great at initiating them.

The definitions of hug imply strong feelings and strong connection.  Do you convey strong feelings when you hug people? Do you feel a strong connection when you are hugged?

Hugs these days seem to have taken the same role as a handshake, with about as  much warmth. Hugs have become so rote and mundane that the really good hugs stand out and leave an impression, at least for me.


I have a nephew who I am convinced gives the best hugs on the planet.  His name is Christian.

Before I tell you about his hugs, you need to know a few things. He’s not just some teenager sitting around with nothing better to do than practice his hug sincerity. He’s not bored or lonely, hoping good hugs will bring him friends.  He’s an outstanding young man.

He plays football.  He wrestles, and has won state championships. Like MULTIPLE state championships.  He does volunteer work. He’s an above-average student and an above-average Christian.  There’s no way I could do him justice here without doing a personal interview. 🙂

If it tells you anything, he just got into West Point Military Academy.  I believe the number of applicants this year was 17,000.  Only 500 were chosen, and my nephew was one of them.

I tell you all this to make a point.  He’s got so much going for him he could be a real snob.  He could be too self-centered, as many guys his age are, to care about how he makes others feel.  But he’s not self-centered even a tiny little bit, which makes him an even more outstanding person.  I truly admire him.

But all of that isn’t my favorite thing about Christian.  My favorite thing is the way he hugs me.

In the past when approaching him for a hug, I’ve almost felt bad that he had to give the obligatory family-I-haven’t-seen-in-a-while hug to an aunt he doesn’t see that often.  I always want to tell little kids that don’t know me well that they don’t have to hug me if they don’t want to. I’ve never actually done that, because I don’t want them to think I just don’t want to hug them. But I feel sorry for little kids obligated to hug people they really don’t know very well.

All apprehension just melts away when I hug Christian. He hugs me like I’m his favorite person in the world.  If I had to guess on his hugs alone, I’d really believe that I am. 🙂

It makes me stop and think about the quality of hugs I give.  At some point I realized that I don’t initiate hugs, except with my kids.  Even that dwindled when my kids became teenagers.  I don’t really know why I’m not an initiator; maybe it’s a fear of rejection, or something.  But I hate that about myself.  I’m going to work on being an initiator, and making my hugs count.

I want my hugs to make people feel loved, accepted, and even celebrated.

Like Christian does.

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  1. I think your hugs are awesome and I really want one now!

  2. Kensi Kempf permalink

    Christian does give good hugs. You do too though! That’s funny that you say you don’t really initiate hugs, because I feel like our whole family is made of huggers. Maybe it is because I’m your child though. Cause I remember you always hugging me. I believe that’s why I’m such a hugger, because I came from a loving affectionate family. I crave that stuff now. I always love getting to hug you and smell you lol. I love your scent.

    • Ha ha ha, yes, you’ve always enjoyed sniffing me. I think I’m the official scratch-n-sniff mama. LOL

  3. Gloria Jackson permalink

    Yes, Christian is a great hugger and has a special way of making you feel loved. He is really a great kid. That being said, I have always loved your hugs.I agree with Kensi in that we come from a long line of huggers. Some more so that others but, still huggers.I think that you will find that as you get older you hug more. Don’t ever stop hugging, it makes people feel special. I can’t even imagine seeing you without getting one of your warm hugs that says “I love you Mom” I think long embracing hugs should be saved for those that you really love but a nice little hug is more like a hello and I am so glad to see you. Ok enough from me.

  4. treymc44 permalink

    Yeah, I agree with Kensi you are a hugger! Lol I know im far from one at most times! Lol im just more of a touch me not. Lol

  5. Whitney Cox permalink

    You don’t initiate often but I think most people are like that with people we see all the time. We usually hug more when we haven’t seen someone in a while. But I do love it when I get them from you!

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