Sean Healy, the assistant principal at Baker College Prep, the South Shore campus of Noble Network was recently featured in the Chicago Unheard article, “When This Crisis Is Over, You Can Count on Me for Free Hugs”.

“This next assignment may be challenging for some of you,” said Laurie Mulvey, one of my favorite college professors. “What I want you to do is create a sign that says ‘Free Hugs’ and then go to a safe location and hold it up. Give wholehearted hugs to those who take you up on it. But, most importantly… notice. Notice the impact the hug has on both you and the person you’re hugging. Notice how they hold themselves when they walk away. Notice how you feel afterwards.”

I remember the warmth with which  Mulvey, a favorite college professor, explained this assignment years ago to her sociology teaching assistants, including me. But even her natural ability to connect with people couldn’t get me to go through with the assignment.

The truth is,  I was nervous. I had an image of myself holding the sign and people passing me by, laughing. I never did it. I lied about what my imagined experience had been like. 

Now, sitting in my apartment, restricted from human contact, I’m reminded of what I missed out on when I chose not to take a risk and try the hug assignment…”

Share This