“Dad, I needed more than people who fist-bumped me passing in the hall and moving on. I needed kids my age who cared… really cared.” – Braden Speed
“Dad. Today, I found a girl sitting at a lunch table all alone. I asked her if she’d like to sit with me, but she was on silent lunch for punishment. At least she knew she was invited”.
– Caitlin Speed
“IT IS OUR FAMILY’S MISSION to always look for the “Braden’s” and HUG, smile, help, invite, and love that hurt away” – Family of Prosper High student
My twin brother, Mike came from Lubbock this week for a visit and to spend some guy time together. He and I look very similar. In fact, as we’ve grown older and our hair has thinned… (ok, fallen out), we look more alike than ever.
Although we share a lot in common, we are very different in some ways. Mike is a big “barbecue guy”. Barbecue guys come in two varieties: The “Mark” barbecue guy has one grill. This one cooks burgers and an occasional holiday turkey. Mark’s barbecue is usually somewhat edible.
Then there is the “Mike” barbecue guy, with five types of grills in the backyard (true story). This variety smokes briskets by the dozen, smoked sausages, chicken, and pulled pork, winning Grill Master contests. Mike recently began selling his barbecue and is setting up a website!
This week we hung out while he smoked pulled pork on my pitiful little grill. We spent a lot of time together, getting “real” about life, family, and faith. He shared a couple of stories which stood out to me. One was about how he’d recently reached across his street to a neighbor he’d never known. Her car wouldn’t start and she needed to get her kids to school. He talked about how much one simple act of kindness (offering to loan his car) quickly turned them from surface neighbors to a more meaningful relationship.
I shared with him numerous stories our family has experienced (too many to count) through neighbors we had never known before we lost our son in October.
Throughout his visit, I felt our connection growing so much closer than when he first arrived.
Although Mike and I are arguably closer than most guys, as twins, we’ve never been “huggers”. We ended our first night together watching a movie and continuing to talk. When we headed down the stairs to bed, I expected the usual “Night, Bud”. Instead, I put my arm around him and pulled him in for a tight hug. A real one.
Too often, people go with the fist-bump, the “Night, Bud”, passing each other as they hurry about with their busy lives. Too rarely do we slow down, opening ourselves to others, coming into their lives in a real person-to-person relational level and stay the course.
Mike headed home this afternoon. However, when he left it was only temporary. We’ll be together again. He hadn’t really left. He never will. That is my definition of a hug.
Parents and teachers:
If you aren’t a hugger by nature, think about trying it. It might surprise you what it does for the hugged and the hugger. Rather than a quick pat on the back or fist-bump, hold the person a little tighter… stay a second longer. It will mean something to them. Let others see, especially your kids.
Yes, tell them to be nice. But if we truly do want to impact the depression in our society, we must go FURTHER by finding others to reach out to physically or better yet, reach INTO them. And STAY.