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No Hits. Just Hugs. POSTER

No Hits. Just Hugs. POSTER
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I grew up in a home where hits were delivered first and questions were asked later ... if they were ever asked at all. And if I tried to explain, my face was slapped because I was arguing and I was being disrespectful. Now, I will be the first to tell you that I had a "smart mouth" and I was quick on the draw. But being slapped out of my dinner chair was a bit over the top...even for a smart mouth. I never understood why throwing me down on the floor and banging my shoulders and head into the floor was thought of as okay parenting. I was just a kid. So I didn't say anything. In fact, I "steeled up" and I would say, "Hit me again, but I won't cry." Not the smartest thing I've ever done ... the invitation was indeed accepted and I was hit again and again and again. I'm not talking about a "spanking." I'm talking about a frenzied fly of the hands that landed wherever they might, as hard as they could, and only ended when the adult on the other end of the hitting felt better. I know I'm not the only one that grew up this way.
.................................................................................................To most people, we seemed to have what some might call a "normal" home. But we were a house of secrets. For a while, I tried hard to curb my tongue and to do things that pleased my parents. I always made A's - in fact, I graduated from high school 6th of a class of 610. That earned me a scholarship to college because that put me in the top 1% of my class. But it didn't matter. I was never good enough to receive praise - only negativity.
.................................................................................................Even as an adult, I must have always been a disappointment to my family. I held down a job, wrote curriculum, sang and painted, and was successful by everyone else's standards. When my marriage ended in divorce, my parents were especially ashamed of me. There weren't two sides to the divorce - even though my husband left me for another woman - no, they felt it had to have been my fault and said so.
................................................................................................. It was years before I realized that nothing I did was going to please them, and that who I am is more than what they thought I should be ... more than the hits ... more than the insults ... more than the disdain they readily displayed. I finally realized that I am who God made me to be - period. And that's worth something. .................................................................................................Looking back, I might say that I should have been more respectful. But I don't think that would have stopped the abuse. And the bottom line is that I was the kid and they were the adults. As a teacher, I learned to spot the child who flinched when an adult's hand came near and to realize that someone had used a hand to "hit" rather than to "hug." Many of these children built high walls against letting me in, and often, it took almost all of the school year before they were comfortable enough with me that I could hug them. That's when I understood what I had missed in my own life and what I could give to the children in my classroom - acceptance. If nothing more than a hug, I could teach children to see the good in themselves and to be proud of who they were, despite any mixed messages they might be receiving at home.
.................................................................................................What can I do about child abuse? I can tell my story. What can you do about child abuse? Make this your mantra: No hits. Just hugs.
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Stop child abuse.
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