|image courtesy of haileybugg vis flickr|
Was this another example of teenage hormones hormones and cruelty? No. The girl was 4 years old, and the boy is our very own Sender. It was after a women's Bible study, and she wanted to give Sender a hug good-bye, and he just didn't want to. The meltdown commenced. I wanted to see Joanna when that week's study was done, and I walked right into the middle of this event.
Joanna told me that I needed to make him give her a hug. I explained that I didn't think that he needed to. It's his body. But I really didn't know why he wouldn't -- these two kids have been friends for about two-and-a-half years now, and have given each other plenty of hugs. In fact, he's usually a very affectionate child, but this day he was just being obstinate and selfish.
But that brought up an interesting discussion between me and some of the other moms that were present. Why do we expect little kids to give hugs to other adults and children, thinking it's so cute, even if we all don't model the same affectionate behavior towards others ourselves? Do side hugs count (like the cover of this book)? And at what point do we cease to expect our kids to give hugs on command? I'm pretty sure that I don't want to force Elijah (age 7) to give hugs in most situations.
The most ironic part is that these women just finished hearing teaching on Biblical femininity, including the idea of having the capacity to be inviting. So of course, I joked with Joanna and other moms about how this little girl was being a little too "overly inviting," and that she needed to love Jesus more than she craved physical affection from a cute little boy. (But I can't blame her; he is really cute.)
Well, that is true for this girl, but I don't think a 4-year-old mind can grasp those ideas quite yet. And from Sender's end, the issue was that he was being selfish and uncaring. It's not he has never hugged her before, and often he initiated it. He was just thinking of himself more than his friend. I talked to him about this sinful heart attitude, and, yes, I did make him give her a hug.
Oh, and he's the only one of our three kids that looks completely like me. Which is why I tell people we're done having babies, since I finally got one to look like me. He deserves a big hug for that.