Love: A Basic Human Need
All of us have a basic human need to feel loved and appreciated. One powerful
way to express love is through appropriate physical affection. When children are
given this affection they often feel secure, loved and worthwhile. When family members
do not get affection in the home, they often go out seeking it. And of course, there is
usually someone who will gladly give them physical affection. Unfortunately it is almost
always an inappropriate type of affection that will damage them instead of protect them.
Unfortunately, many have trouble showing love and affection. This problem is especially true of fathers. In research conducted among high school students the following question was posed: “How often does your father/mother show you physical affection (kisses, hugs, etc.)? The results of this survey were disturbing. “Only 24% of fathers showed their children physical affection on a daily basis. Mothers were better but still only 49% gave daily physical affection to their children.” (American Youth Survey, 2001.)
Often this lack of affection is passed on to the next generation, which creates a vicious cycle, which is very hard to break. After a presentation on the power of love and affection I received the following note from one of the participants:
“I am 80 years old, born in into a good family. My grandmother was the daughter of a prominent leader, but I never heard grandma say the word love. My mother was the second of eight children. I was the second of three. I never saw my mother and father hug or kiss. I was raised during the depression. My father was a traveling salesman. He would sign his letters, “oodles of love” but that was the only time I ever heard or read that word.
My mother died at 97. I visited her every day the last seven years. She never said, “I love you” once, and I never said it to her. Mother had never ever hugged or kissed me. I kissed her casket -- first time. I am the mother of five sons and one mentally handicapped daughter. She is the only on I can hug and kiss.
My husband was very starved for any physical affection too -- he took his own life. All of this I now realize that I was starved for some physical affection. Keep teaching this message. Thank you!”
This lady and her husband were both starved for affection. The consequences in this home are very sad. As we read closely, we see that this lady, who had no affection from her parents, gave none to her own family members. In this short message we see that the lack of affection tradition has been carried on for at least four generations. I hope that her posterity is able to break the cycle and show affection to their children.
The consequences of this failure to give family members appropriate physical affection are many. One of great concern is the tendency for those who do not have this basic human need met to be sexually active in inappropriate ways.
The following statement by a thirteen-year-old girl is chilling: "When my father stopped hugging me, I decided I could either tear up the beautiful book he had given me for Christmas, or I could kill myself, or I could try to get hugs from someone else," says Janie, thirteen, who recently had her first sexual encounter. "I finally decided to get a boyfriend." (Is Your Child Flirting With Sex? Kathleen McCoy, Reader's Digest, Sept. 1989, pg. 114). Why do you think her father stopped hugging her? This young girl obviously felt that her father no longer loved her when he stopped hugging her. I have a feeling that her assumption was totally off base.
I read Janie’s statement to a group of parents and teenagers in a southern state a few years ago. After the talk, a beautiful young teenage girl came up to talk. She said, “Every night since I was born my father came into my room and laid on the bed beside me and talked to me. We laughed and shared meaningful experiences together every night. He often counseled me and encouraged me to live a good life. Before leaving, he always hugged me, gave me a kiss and told me how much he loved me.” Then she said, “Last year he quit coming into my room and he has not came back in once.” I asked her how old she was. She replied that she was fourteen. Then this young teen said, “Sometimes I just want to take him by the shirt and shake him and tell him that I still need that.” Is this young girl in danger?
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Love: A Basic Human Need
Posted by Randal Wright at 8:12 AM