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Four Hugs a Day

Four Hugs a Day

About 20 years ago, I student taught in Southern California. I was placed in a very low income school, Magnolia Elementary School in Azusa, CA, in a kindergarten classroom with an excellent master teacher. She taught me so much about how to manage a classroom well so students could learn. However, the thing I remember the most about my experience in her classroom is a simple little song she had the students sing each day, “Four Hugs a Day”.  Click here for the Youtube link.

Since I grew up in a family where affection was the everyday norm, I didn’t realize that many homes are not that way. This wise teacher understood that hugs help develop emotionally healthy kids, and unfortunately, many kids were not getting enough hugs at home. The same is true for all people, regardless of their age, we all need hugs! I’ve heard it said that we need:

  • 4 hugs a day for survival
  • 8 hugs a day for maintenance
  • 12 hugs a day for growth

Ever since that silly little song got burned into my subconscious, I have been known as a hugger. I hug my kids, I hug my friends, I hug my church family (with appropriate side hugs for the men). In fact, I believe a hug to be one of the most powerful ministry tools at our disposal. By welcoming somebody into your personal space, a hug says, “I accept you”, “I love you”, “You are valuable”, “I care about you”, “You are important”, “Jesus loves you”.

You can tell, by the rigid feel of their bodies, those who are neither used to nor comfortable with hugs. This has seldom deterred me (*smile*). I have seen many people transformed from reluctant huggers to some of the most enthusiastic huggers I know. It’s amazing – the transformational power of something so simple. One reluctant hugger recently told me, “I have needed every single hug you have ever given me.”

There’s an added benefit to being a hugger . . . as many hugs as I give, is as many hugs as I get. Even if I am the one to initiate a hug, I still benefit from it. When you serve in ministry, you have to pay close attention to your own emotional health. Are you surviving (4 hugs)? Maintaining (8 hugs)? Or growing (12 hugs)? I have found that the more hugs I give in a day, the healthier of a person I become.

Consider embracing the hug (pun intended!). It will do wonders for both those you serve and yourself as well. How many hugs can you give today?

Your Friend in Ministry,

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