You’ve no doubt seen or heard the slogan, “Have you hugged your kids today?” Created in 1975 by Jack Lewis, a Kentucky state government worker, the slogan has been on t-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, and television commercials for nearly five decades.
Jack Lewis practiced what he preached. In June 1976, his 9-year-old daughter, Susan, wrote about that in a Herald-Leader essay contest. Lewis worked hard for his family and for other children in his role as commissioner of social services. “He hugs all of us every day, and we hug him too,” she wrote.
The reminder is more important than ever. Parents and children lead busier lives; endure more stress; face more challenges; and are bombarded with advertisements, videos, and news every moment of every day.
If this slogan has faded away a bit, we need to resurrect it – beginning in your own household. For your own children, your grown children, and your grandchildren.
“Have you hugged your kid today?” is more than a slogan. It’s a mandate Christians should follow because Jesus saw fit to do it. And God saw fit to document the moment in his Holy Word.
And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.Mark 10:16
When you take your children into your arms, you touch, embrace, and draw them close. You make a powerful statement without words. It brings comfort and confidence. It speaks volumes of affirmation, love, and care. Every child needs to receive what Jesus modeled. We can be Jesus to our children as we live this out.
When our daughters were younger, we had plenty of time for love, hugs, and cuddles. I never would have dreamed there might be days go by without that in their lives.
Then I blinked and began looking around to realize their schedules were as crazy as mine. How can we have days when everyone runs out of the house in a totally frantic scurry to do all their activities, when we alternate who might be home; when we finally arrive back home after everyone else is asleep? How could a day be so busy that there wasn’t time for one single hug between parent and child? If hadn’t experienced this myself, I wouldn’t believe it.
One thing that impresses me as I read about Jesus is that he had time. He had time for people, for kids, for questions, and for rest.
One simple and practical thing Jesus did made a huge difference and still does today. Take time to get on the level of children, look them in the eye, hug them, and bless them.
I don’t want to miss those kinds of opportunities. I want to be that kind of dad for my own daughters when they are in their adolescence, with busy days and weekends or weeks away.
Have you hugged your kids today? It’s a call to every Christian parent. Take the time, model Jesus, and hug your child.
The encouragement for this post came from reading a book called Grace-Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel.