Regarding the Sept. 6 Other Opinion piece “ Sadly saying so long to hugs”: I was disheartened to learn the apparent limitations within which a camp counselor can express warmth toward a child. I have also been struck, however, when I hear one of those counselors extolling these, perhaps, needy children to, “Have a great day.”
If we are going overboard with regard to avoiding close physical contact with a child, we are, at the same time, creating a completely unrealistic picture of what a human life generally engenders. Suppose that same looking-for-a-hug child is going home to distracted and exhausted parents or to a single parent who is, for whatever reason, unable to be present for the child’s needs. How confusing it must be to be told systematically to “have a great day” day after day, when this is clearly the hyperbole of consumer culture, that we should surely never have to experience any negative emotion.
Since the counselors cannot express their affection physically, how about they simply tell the kids how good it was to spend the day with them, and how much they look forward to seeing them the following day?