Thursday, August 16, 2007

Physical Affection: Day 4

In the Knuz and Dyer landmark study on effective families they asked parents the following question: Q. How do you express love in your family?

Effective Families

Telling them we love them 97%

Do things for them 96%

Hugging 94%

Tell by writing or phoning 91%

Kissing 85%

(Effective Families, pp. 80-82.)

In 1990 I took my two boys to a high school basketball game between two powerhouses vying for the championship of an important tournament. The game was being played at the basketball arena of Lamar University. The team we had come to see was Lincoln High School of Port Arthur who had won five Texas State 4A championships in the 1980s and was the number-one team in the state at the time. Their opponent was the number five ranked 5A Beaumont West Brook, led by 6’ 5” Luke (Lukie) Jackson Jr. He had basketball in his genes since he was the son of 6’ 9” Luke Jackson who played on the Olympic basketball team that won a Gold Medal at the 1964 summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The father also played for the NBA champion Philadelphia 76ers as a teammate of legendary Wilt Chamberlain. I was sure that this former NBA all star would be in the audience that night watching his son along with many college recruiters.

The game was very exciting and both teams gave it everything they had. West Brook held the lead from the beginning of the game, thanks to a huge game by Lukie Jackson. Then, with just a few seconds left in regulation play, Lincoln tied the score, and the game went into overtime. The West Brook team was able to gain a one point advantage over the opponents. It appeared they would hold the lead to win the game. However, with less than 30 seconds to go, a Lincoln player drove to the basket and was fouled by Lukie. He made both free throws, and Lincoln won the game by one point. It was sad to see this young man who had played so hard, scored so many points, commit the foul that cost his team the game against the defending state champions.

I wondered what his dad was thinking. Would he yell at his boy for making a costly mistake with a few seconds left in the game like so many other dads do? Lukie was visibly upset on the sidelines and not talking to anyone. Finally he looked up at someone who was walking toward him. I looked to my left and saw a huge man walking towards the dejected player. It was his Luke Jackson. When his son saw him coming toward him he actually started walking towards his father in the isle. I wondered if he would get the tongue lashing that so many sons receive in similar situations. When they met, Luke threw his arms around his son, and in front of thousands of people, held him tightly, patting him on the back and quietly talking to him. I watched this touching scene, wondering what I would have done had he been my own son. After the long embrace ended, Lukie's countenance changed and he ran back down to the basketball court. He looked as if his team had just won the state championship. He was smiling and happy as he went over to congratulate the winning team. I don't think I've ever witnessed such a change in attitude in such a short time. Maybe this incident confirms a statement made by Dr. Harold Voth: a psychiatrist with the Menninger Foundation who said, "Hugging can lift depression. It breathes fresh life into a tired body and makes you feel younger and more vibrant. (Readers Digest, Sept 1989, p.114.)

Do you think Lukie loves and respects his father? Do you think he was more inclined to listen to his father's counsel after that game? Lukie went on to stardom at Syracuse University. Our children can go on to stardom also in whatever they choose to do if they truly know that they are loved.

Make a commitment today to show family members that you love them by giving them appropriate physical affection. From these simple acts many remarkable benefits will occur. Our children will have added self-confidence that is desperately needed to be successful. Burke Peterson said: “Impossible mountains are climbed by those who have the self-confidence that comes from truly being loved. Prisons and other institutions, even some of our own homes, are filled with those who have been starved for affection.“ (Ensign, May 1977, p.) When children know they are loved they will be better able to withstand the tremendous temptations that they will surely face.


Katie, Bryan, Bryce & Bryleigh said...

I love the quote about hugging. I think people tend to forget how important hugs are. I think people as a whole tend to forget how powerful saying I Love You to those we love, kissing our loved ones, hugging those we care about and smiling at everyone really is. These simple things change a persons day and allow our children to grow up knowing we love them.

Perry said...

This is a funny story. I thought I was the only one who really remembered that game, other than those who it really effected. I was a huge fan of Lukie being his next door neighbor allowed me the opportunity to see how his father would guide him in basketball without forcing him to be a ball player. The best thing Mr. Jackson is the same way with Lukie to this day. They are a loving family.