Did you ever hear that we need four hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance, and 12 hugs a day for growth? Fortunately, some good-doers at Austin’s Pride Parade are providing hugs to help lift the spirits of young people. People turned out to offer LGBTQ youth the support that some of their families never gave them. It happens far too often, when members of this community can find themselves rejected by their parents, family members, or friends. One woman hopes to help turn it around with free hugs.
Everyone needs good role models in their life, and these adults, in some ways, are beings the mother or father figures that these youth always wanted.
Blogger, speaker, and author Jen Hatmaker took to the internet to speak up about how her “mom hugs” made a difference at the Austin Pride Parade.
Picture Perfect Pride
She shared on Instagram on August 12 a photo and story from the event. Her church attended the event, and volunteers provided a kind word and a hug. The group provided “free mom hugs,” “free dad hugs”, “free nana hugs” and “free pastor hugs.”
The internet showed amazing support for the story, and to date, the post has more than 57,000 likes!
Hatmaker said she was inspired by Sara Cunningham of FreeMomHugs. This group embraces interfaith teachings and encourages parents to embrace their children in words and actions.
This example of supportive parenting for youth is a good example of the attitude of acceptance and inclusivity that the LGBTQ movement strives for. These history-making parents are paving the way for people of all orientations to be loved and accepted in their families and communities.
Jen says that she hugged many people. Dozens of them opened up to her and her group members and told her how it made them feel. Strangers would race into their arms. They’d share tear-jerking personal facts like how they missed hugging their moms or hadn’t spoken to their dads in years. They would go on to ask for more hugs.
She told them that they were valued and incredibly loved. They reminded them of how precious and needed they were, which is probably exactly what they needed to hear.
Hatmaker said she left pride festival covered in glitter with a smile on her face. Giving love and support to a group of young people had her and her group members feeling loved and supported, as well as opening their hearts.
Free Hugs Helps Heal Youth
For youths who had been rejected by their church community, the pastor hugs were particularly emotional. The church group shared that their arms were never empty.
You can only imagine how necessary a pastor hug would be to someone who needed unconditional love and support. More than a few tears were shed by people who were in the right place at the right time for many young people during Austin’s Pride Fest.
Small acts of kindness can help bring people together in amazing ways. You never know how much a hug can mean to someone.