MIAGD: Even the smelly ones

MIAGD: Make it a great day!

Leo Buscaglia was not only a favorite author but a pen-pal from 1984 until his death.

I grew up in a family of huggers.

We hugged and kissed. I was fortunate to move next door to Mama Kay, the age of my parents, who’s also a hugger and kisser. My sons quickly learned, even yearned, for family hugs.

Our morning ritual: hugs and “I love yous” before leaving the house for school. I grew up with this and continued it with my sons.

Our evening ritual: hugs and “I love yous” before heading to bed. I grew up with this and continued it with my sons.

We even hug people we’ve just met.

One thing that always touched me deeply was introducing a new son or foster son to my Hoosier family. Each new arrival was greeted with a huge bear hug from Mother, their new grandmother, and “I’m so lucky to be your grandma!” Even the foster sons. The rest of the family followed suit with hugs and introductions.

Many of these young men had known abuse at the hands of their own mothers and were, often times, fearful of or antagonistic toward women. The Haas Hugs seemed to immediately diminish those fears and anxieties.

A hug, or a touch on an arm can do so much and we sometimes will never know the power we’ve given with the sharing of a simple touch or hug


After my first year in teaching was complete, I sat with my former high school English teacher, Darren Paquin, in her backyard and discussed one of the new Hoosier mandates in schools: “teachers shouldn’t hug a student.”

This mandate had nothing to do with the issues we seem to face these days with student/teacher relationships; Indiana was going through a phase during the cancellation of corporal punishment.

I remember Mrs. Paquin leaning across the table, in what happened to be our first frank conversation as colleagues, and saying, “I’m still going to hug my students… even the smelly ones.”

That was good enough for me.

Yes, I hug students, and their parents and siblings. I’ll hug just damn near anyone who needs a hug. If we spend our time only hugging ourselves our arms will begin to ache; reaching out and hugging others will never make our arms ache.

Make it a great day and hug people and hug life... hug the smelly folks and the smellier days!

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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