Divine Comedy

Phil works with an early CCBS student on a building project

Phil works with an early CCBS student on a building project

“I hate you.  I’m going to run away.” That was my son at 7 years of age – willful and independent – pretty typical, I know, but then I added, “Good. I’ll help you pack.” I stood there while my son stuffed his red Elmo stuffed toy and other essentials into his small daypack and headed for the door. I was slightly amused, but also amazed and ashamed that this little powerhouse of energy was able to put me in that emotional spot so easily.

In another instant I was remembering myself as a child that age and shouting that same thing to my parents, righteously justified and utterly convinced of the injustice of my life. I also remembered the blessing uttered by parents and grandparents everywhere, “May you get one just like you.”

I often find that the universe has a sense of humor – like a perpetual April Fool’s Day.

I love my parents completely and unconditionally…a gift from the universe that was hard wired into me at birth. However, the deep love and fierce sense of protection I feel for my son is a gift from him. There is just no way I could have reached that level of emotion and devotion on my own. I needed the help of another soul, one who at times is helpless, at times is independent, but is almost always a true reflection of myself.

At Cherokee Creek Boys School, the small school with the big heart, we are entering the Visionary aspect of our Lessons of the Medicine Wheel; a time when we emphasize Truth and the lesson, “Tell the Truth without Blame or Judgement.”

For me, truth is always mixed with a little humor. And the truth is that the love we feel for our children can make fools of us all. Learning to laugh at ourselves and see our own reflection in our children is a real and true gift.

Happy April Fool’s Day

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posted by Shaler Black Cooper in Discovering What is Real and True and have No Comments

The Healing Power of Hugs

Beth congratulates recent graduate, Cole, on his graduation day.

Beth congratulates recent graduate, Cole, with a hug.

I always love the Family Seminars at Cherokee Creek Boys School and the sessions on Love and Healer are my favorite. Spending time with bright, caring adults who are, “paying attention to what has heart and meaning,” is uplifting. One of the many lessons we explore together is the Arms of Love: the power of acknowledgment, recognition, validation and gratitude to demonstrate genuine caring.

Living in Florida, I am not on campus often and truly miss the day to day engagement with the boys, staff and families. Hugs are a “touching” way to share my heart-felt love and appreciation…if you’ll excuse the pun!

Hugs seem to be the full manifestation of the Arms of Love. A hug acknowledges, accepts, recognizes, validates and is appreciated by giver and receiver.

I am aware that there is a hugging etiquette. Not everyone is an instant hugger. At CCBS we follow guidelines like those set forth by the Hugs for Health Foundation ( yes, there is a Hugs for Health Foundation!)

-Always respect another’s space.
-Ask permission before hugging.
-A hug is a compassionate gesture, hug accordingly.
-A hug is a gentle embrace, not the Heimlich maneuver.

There have been scientific studies measuring the benefits of hugging. Sometimes I’m surprised that science needs to validate what seems so obvious.

Hugs are a simple, one size fits all “therapy”. They are good for all ages, environmentally safe and a renewable resource. They are not bound by gender, race, color or creed. Hugs have Heart and Meaning…hugs are Real and True.

Who will you acknowledge, recognize, validate or appreciate with a hug today?

Here is a video hug for you: Free Hugs Campaign video on YouTube

Cherokee Creek Boys School is a therapeutic boarding school for middle-school boys, ages 11-15, located in Upstate South Carolina.

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posted by Shaler Black Cooper in Discovering What is Real and True and have Comments (5)