Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hugs: the Perfect Gift

My children and I have a long-running game (for lack of a better word). For example, I will reach into my pocket while saying, "Oh, I have something for you..." I take my hand out, pretending to enclose a small object, and while opening my hand—supposed to present the gift—smile and say, "It's a hug!" Arms reach around, giggles appear spontaneously, and everyone ends up laughing.

This routine is a satisfactory substitute for many seemingly non-related actions; it can replace a high-five for a job well done; it's often better than a serious scolding; it's much more preferable than a spanking(!); and it can simply be used to interject love into any situation—even at calm times.

Well, yesterday, my little girl was having a hard time near bedtime. Her anger was directed at me because I was the one who said, "It's time to get ready for bed." Seeing that she was upset, I'm sad to say that I didn't think of our hug game—which would have helped, I'm sure. Instead, my four-year-old came to me, looking imploringly up at me and said, "Daddy, I have something for you..."

You know the rest of the story. Hugs replaced screams and tears. In the bubble of love that developed, in the middle of the hug, I said something that seemed to fit—almost as well as the hug did. I said:

Hugs: they're the perfect gift. One size fits all, and they're actually best when they're returned!

Give the gift of a hug—for every occasion!

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