Did you hug your child today?

Many years ago, I read this sentence in Reader’s Digest where the author saw a sticker behind a car — “Did you hug your child today?”

Pujya Haribhai Kothari, a renowned thinker, philosopher, and spiritual guru, once shared an incident. He met a 75 year old man who complained to Haribhai saying that — “My son is not in my control. We have no relations, we do not speak to each other. When he comes home from office, I have to go out to temple or market and when we are at home, he is either busy on his computer or watching television, but we do not speak.”

Haribhai asked — “Grandpa, tell me when was the last time you sat with your son, kept your hand on his shoulder or on his head? Do you remember?” The old man was silent for a while gazing at the sky and thinking as he murmured….”not in the last 40 years at least .In all these years I haven’t made him sit next to me or even kept my hand on son’s shoulder….hmmm 40 years”.

Haribhai gave an analogy and said “in our village when a lady of the house working in the kitchen sees a utensil falling from the shelf and making hurting sound rotating on the floor….’tung tandang tung’….!!!!! She will simply place her hand on the head of that vessel and it will become quite.” Haribhai exaggerated and said, “If this non-living vessel could get the warmth of hand and be at peace, I’m sure your son would feel more warmth when you do the same.”

I asked myself the same question, Did I hug my child today? And what is this ‘hug’ all about? Yes, a tight embrace of course is a ‘hug’ but also a wink, a hand on shoulder, a flying kiss, bringing a surprise chocolate or a small gift, a loving tap on cheek, a warm press of the palm, a gesture, a small ‘I Love you’ note on the pillow or fridge, a look with a positive reinforcement or endorsement, a nod, thumbs up, Hi-five and …and…!! As our children are sensitive by nature they will feel the depth of love in these simple genuine gestures.

Since that day, at home as I come from office and also before we go to bed, either my kids Kshitij (30), Tirth (26) and Tithi (26) would hug me or I will hug them tight as if there won’t be any tomorrow. This has really helped us to bond deeper. We share things with open mind and without being prejudicial or judgmental. Of course we too have differences of opinions and fights, but we will not hesitate to go back and say sorry, hug or even cry. We do not breed ego among ourselves as with every hug we dissolve more into each other.

When I try and hug my dad who is 85, he feels uncomfortable and understandably so. Harindra Dave, a great Poet of Gujarati Literature, had once said — “પ્રેમ વાચા માંગે છે તેમ ત્વચા પણ.” (“Love demands Touch, just as much as Words.”)

….and today, on Children’s Day, if you believe that there is a child living in all of us, then let’s expand the scope of this question — did you hug your child today?
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — –
“प्यार की झप्पी की दो बूंदे,
रिश्तों को पोलियो से बचाती हैं l”

“Pyar ki Jhappi ki do bunde
rishton ko Polio se bachati hain.”

Two drops of a loving hug
immunise relationships from Polio.

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