Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
For teens, hello means ‘how about a hug?’
Some schools have banned hugs or imposed a three-second rule on gesture
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
To hug or not to hug is never in question for Ashley Rocha and friends at Pascack Hills High.
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High schoolers embrace huggingMay 28: For this generation’s teens, hugging seems to be all the rage. NBC’s Chris Jansing reports.
There is so much hugging at Pascack Hills High School in Montvale, N.J., that students have broken down the hugs by type:
There is the basic friend hug, probably the most popular, and the bear hug, of course. But now there is also the bear claw, when a boy embraces a girl awkwardly with his elbows poking out.
There is the hug that starts with a high-five, then moves into a fist bump, followed by a slap on the back and an embrace.
There’s the shake and lean; the hug from behind; and, the newest addition, the triple — any combination of three girls and boys hugging at once.
“We’re not afraid, we just get in and hug,” said Danny Schneider, a junior at the school, where hallway hugging began shortly after 7 a.m. on a recent morning as students arrived. “The guy friends, we don’t care. You just get right in there and jump in.”
There are romantic hugs, too, but that is not what these teenagers are talking about.
Girls embracing girls, girls embracing boys, boys embracing each other — the hug has become the favorite social greeting when teenagers meet or part these days. Teachers joke about “one hour” and “six hour” hugs, saying that students hug one another all day as if they were separated for the entire summer.
Hip to hugA measure of how rapidly the ritual is spreading is that some students complain of peer pressure to hug to fit in. And schools from Hillsdale, N.J., to Bend, Ore., wary in a litigious era about sexual harassment or improper touching — or citing hallway clogging and late arrivals to class — have banned hugging or imposed a three-second rule.
Parents, who grew up in a generation more likely to use the handshake, the low-five or the high-five, are often baffled by the close physical contact. “It’s a wordless custom, from what I’ve observed,” wrote Beth J. Harpaz, the mother of two boys, 11 and 16, and a parenting columnist for The Associated Press, in a new book, “13 Is the New 18.”
“And there doesn’t seem to be any other overt way in which they acknowledge knowing each other,” she continued, describing the scene at her older son’s school in Manhattan. “No hi, no smile, no wave, no high-five — just the hug. Witnessing this interaction always makes me feel like I am a tourist in a country where I do not know the customs and cannot speak the language.”
For teenagers, though, hugging is hip. And not hugging?
“If somebody were to not hug someone, to never hug anybody, people might be just a little wary of them and think they are weird or peculiar,” said Gabrielle Brown, a freshman at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in Manhattan.
Comforting as the hug may be, principals across the country have clamped down. “Touching and physical contact is very dangerous territory,” said Noreen Hajinlian, the principal of George G. White School, a junior high school in Hillsdale, N.J., who banned hugging two years ago. “It was needless hugging — they are in the hallways before they go to class. It wasn’t a greeting. It was happening all day.”
Schools that have limited hugging invoked longstanding rules against public displays of affection, meant to maintain an atmosphere of academic seriousness and prevent unwanted touching, or even groping.
But pro-hugging students say it is not a romantic or sexual gesture, simply the “hello” of their generation. “We like to get cozy,” said Katie Dea, an eighth grader at Claire Lilienthal Alternative School in San Francisco. “The high-five is, like, boring.”
Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Katie Dea and Henry Begler, both 14, at the Claire Lilienthal School in San Francisco, prefer a friendly hug to a high-five greeting.
A new American greetingSome sociologists said that teenagers who grew up in an era of organized play dates and close parental supervision are more cooperative with one another than previous generations — less cynical and individualistic and more loyal to the group.
But Amy L. Best, a sociologist at George Mason University, said the teenage embrace is more a reflection of the overall evolution of the American greeting, which has become less formal since the 1970s. “Without question, the boundaries of touch have changed in American culture,” she said. “We display bodies more readily, there are fewer rules governing body touch and a lot more permissible access to other people’s bodies.”
Hugging appears to be a grass-roots phenomenon and not an imitation of a character or custom on TV or in movies. The prevalence of boys’ nonromantic hugging (especially of other boys) is most striking to adults. Experts say that over the last generation, boys have become more comfortable expressing emotion, as embodied by the MTV show “Bromance,” which is now a widely used term for affection between straight male friends.
But some sociologists pointed out that African-American boys and men have been hugging as part of their greeting for decades, using the word “dap” to describe a ritual involving handshakes, slaps on the shoulders and, more recently, a hug, also sometimes called the gangsta hug among urban youth.
“It’s something you grow up doing,” said Mazi Chiles, a junior at South Gwinnett High School in Snellville, Ga., who is black. “But you don’t come up to a dude and hug, you start out with a handshake.”
Some parents find it paradoxical that a generation so steeped in hands-off virtual communication would be so eager to hug.
“Maybe it’s because all these kids do is text and go on Facebook so they don’t even have human contact anymore,” said Dona Eichner, the mother of freshman and junior girls at the high school in Montvale.
She added: “I hug people I’m close to. But now you’re hugging people you don’t even know. Hugging used to mean something.”
There are, too, some young critics of hugging.
Amy Heaton, a freshman at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Bethesda, Md., said casual social hugging seemed disingenuous to her. “Hugging is more common in my opinion in people who act like friends,” she said. “It’s like air-kissing. It’s really superficial.”
But Carrie Osbourne, a sixth-grade teacher at Claire Lilienthal Alternative School, said hugging was a powerful and positive sign that children are inclined to nurture one another, breaking down barriers. “And it gets to that core that every person wants to feel cared for, regardless of your age or how cool you are or how cool you think you are,” she said.
As much as hugging is a physical gesture, it has migrated online as well. Facebook applications allowing friends to send hugs have tens of thousands of fans. Katie Dea, the San Francisco eighth grader, as well as Olivia Brown, 11, who lives in Manhattan and is the younger sister of Gabrielle, the LaGuardia High freshman, have a new sign-off for their text and e-mail messages: *hug.*
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Monday we hiked up to Donut Falls in one of the Cottonwood Canyons (I get the two mixed up). There were a bunch of people up there since it was a holiday. The trail was pretty muddy but fortunately no falls! We couldn't get all the way up to the falls because there was so much water, but it was still very pretty. I think Sasha had fun on her first hike! I made Josh carry her in case I fell. I'm just not quite as sure on my feet as he is!
Sasha LOVES water! Hey I made it into at least one picture!A fun little video of Sasha. This girl is definitely using how to work her vocal cords! Of course she quiets down when she sees the camera come out, but you can hear a little bit. (Sorry, can't make it flip!)
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Lessons in Life By Regina Brett: To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written.
My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here's an update:
1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone, everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don't ask, you don't get.
50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I had an experience last year where I did some things I never thought that I would, or could, do. But I did them. Some were fun, some were downright scary, all were exhilirating and each experience taught me a lesson and I learned a lot about myself that day. Today I have been flashing back to one experience in particular where I did something similar to bungee jumping. If you know me very well you know that I am not the type to bungee jump. I hate heights and I don't like being unstable. These fears say a lot about my life in general. Today I have been climbing up to that perch. I've been looking at that perch from the ground for a few weeks now and today I started to climb. I'm about halfway up and a small part of me wants to stop climbing, go back to the ground where its safe. Only, the ground isn't so stable anymore either. So I'm going to keep on climbing. Just like the day I 'bungee jumped' there has been fear, anxiety, stress but above all there has been determination.The platform from which I jump is going to wobble, it's going to sway but if I don't jump it just might crumble from underneath me, and then there would I be? When I jumped, it was such a freeing and empowering experience. Second only to giving birth, I think. Those same feelings I had while climbing to my perch I have now. Does that mean that I'm going to also feel those same feelings of freedom and empowerment once I jump from this perch? I sure hope so. Today was a good day. Tomorrow will be even better.
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Can’t wait to see you!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Of course I miss my family. It's been a busy week so far and it's only Wednesday! Bubbles (Sasha) is doing great. She's such a sweet, good-natured little girl. I really could not have asked for a better kid. She loves eating her cereal and watching the cats. She has really been paying more attention to them lately, now that she can see a little better than when she was younger. She loves watching them chase each other and fight. Whenever she hears the little bells on their collars she starts looking for them. She's rolling over pretty well now. She doesn't always love being on her stomach so she's great at rolling back onto her back. The best is when she gets giggle fits and just laughs and laughs, I love it! I love the way she smiles at her daddy when he comes home from work. I love watching her grow and learn something new every day.
Thank goodness for the invention of camera phones!
Mother's Day was nice. We went to St George with the in-laws and had a nice, relaxing weekend. Sasha even took a dip in the pool! I think she likes the water, but didn't get too overly excited about it.
Last week we went to a Real Salt Lake game. Sasha did not like it at first. It was A LOT noisier than she is used to! For a kid that has pretty much insulated from the world inside our house for the last 5 months, the crowds, music and announcer were a little much at first. After a while she calmed down and did pretty good. She liked watching the players on the field. We have tickets to another game this Saturday so if the weather is good, we'll try it again. I will take the camera with me this time!
Since I have a TON of driving to do this week I stopped and got an audio book to have something to pass the hours in the car. If you're looking for an interesting and inspiring read I suggest the new Michael J. Fox book, Always Looking Up
I've always like Michael J. Fox as an actor and he has done a lot of work to find a cure for Parkinson's Disease, which he has. The book talks a lot about his foundation and the process he went through to get it started. I have laughed, I have cried and I have definitely been inspired. I haven't read his first book, Lucky Man, but I think I will now.
I still have big dreams for what I want to do when I grow up. I'm just not totally clear as to how to make them come true. I've been thinking a lot about them lately, but the picture isn't clear in my mind yet. I know I'll figure it out, it will just take some time. In the meantime I just get to enjoy the road I'm on. I can see some pretty big bumps coming up that I've never had to navigate before, but I know I can make it over them and life will be much better on the other side. It's just waiting until I get to the bumps that's the frustrating part. But I can't start navigating them until I get to them. I'm probably not making any sense, but I don't really want to go into details just yet.
OH! Major milestone! Josh finished school!!!!! He finally finished up his MBA courses and we are both SO EXCITED! I am so proud of him because this is a major accomplishment. Next up is the CPA exam, which he hopes to have finished up this coming fall. I have a great husband that works so hard for our family. And he makes our home a great place to be.
I'm really excited for our garden this year. I want to try a bunch of different veggies this year and I am committed to to putting everything to good use this year, not wimping out and letting it go to waste like last year. Not only do I want to save money on groceries (let's face it, who isn't trying to save money these days) but I want to get more creative with my cooking. Plus, ever since I got pregnant I have gotten more in the habit of eating healthier. Yes, I still have sugar attacks and want to eat nothing but cookies and ice cream, but I eat far less junk food than I used to.
Does anyone play tennis? Or want to learn with me? I love to play, but I'm not very good. Josh is a good sport about going with me on occasion, but it's not really a work out for him. I want to find someone more on my level to play with. I'm up for it on weeknights or Saturday mornings.
Though my mind and my heart refuse to admit it, I'm getting old. My legs get stiff really easy lately and my knees are popping worse than ever. I guess I could blame it all on pregnancy . . . either way, my body feels like its getting old and I don't like it!
Okay, that's all for my ramblings for now. . . .
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of Sasha and my mom today. My mom made her amazingly beautiful dress. We're getting some family pics for Mother's day in a couple of weeks so I will have some then. THANK YOU Mom, for the gorgeous dress and all your help today!
Thanks to everyone who came today! It was great to have everyone there for Sasha's big day.