Our teen-aged son was going through a tough time and I'd rarely felt so helpless in my life. Or at least my life as a parent. Our eldest son was upset and hurting and increasingly distant.
Yes, truth be told, I was worried about him.
I could hear his dad talking with him in the other room. While I couldn't quite make out all the words, the tone was perfectly understandable. This conversation wasn't going very well and the two were at an impasse. Neither dad nor son was going to budge.
I hadn't even realized I'd been crying quiet tears. Here I'd been weeping and praying all at the same time - a special ability we moms seem to have. "Oh, God, show us what to do here!" I pleaded.
We cared so much about our son, but it's like he somehow wasn't hearing it. Wouldn't receive it. Didn't believe it.
Just as I was about out of hope.
I heard the boy say the most astonishing thing.
Couldn't you just hug me?
Oh my. Who would've ever thought? Not in a million years.
This young man didn't need another lecture. He didn't need any more words. He didn't even need a Bible verse.
The guy simply needed a hug.
My husband put his arm around him and it became a turning point for them both. Sure, there was still more that would need to be worked through in the days and weeks following, but this was the connection that we - all of us - were wanting and hoping for all along.
So I learned something that day. Here we were 16 years into parenting and I was learning something new. The power of a hug.
Since that momentous morning, I've made it point to reach out and hug every one of my kids - whatever their age and whatever time of day. Not only as an impulsive, affectionate gesture, but as a conscious and purposeful communication.
I now consider The Hug as one of my most powerful parenting secrets. I wrap my arms around our kids first thing in the morning and last thing at night. And many times in between. Never in a hurry. Slow and easy. We've always got time for a hug.
A hug says so much to your child.
It says, I like being with you
and I like you just the way you are.
It says, I'm here for you
and I'll always be there for you.
It says, I love you
and I know you love me too.
So there it is. The power of a loving hug in your child's life. It means more than you might realize. Or at least more than I realized until that eventful day when he asked,
COULDN'T YOU JUST HUG ME?
Yeah, you bet I can.
So how about you? Have you hugged your kids today?
In His grace,