I Stumbled across this today, and was incredibly saddened by what this tells us about our society. Anyone who works with children, but especially men, is subject to both outside scrutiny and internal self consciousness when it comes to the matter of touching children. As a society we have internalised the idea that to touch a child is somehow perverted. We are also wary of taking photos of children, even when in a public place, and I know that I am always very careful when speaking to children I don’t know that their parents can see very clearly that I don’t mean their kiddies any harm.
Touch is important for everyone, not just children. In the TV show ‘Pushing Daisies’ which I watched for the first time yesterday, one of the characters refers to a hug as an ’emotional heimlich’, as a way of releasing pent up emotions and making you feel better. The writers and directors of this show clearly shared my view of the importance of touch, as the main character, who grew up wary of touching people (or even his dog) for fear of killing them is very clearly emotionally crippled as a result.
It depresses me that society has got to this stage, where young children may only be touched (and by this I mean in a friendly, nurturing way rather than a sexualised or fetishised way) by their parents and family members and older children are vilified by the media as hoody wearing thugs.
I might even argue that there might be some connection between children who are not touched and the thugs they grow up to be.