Last week, I was in the grocery store with my four year old son. He was upset about something, I can't remember what, perhaps my refusal to buy goldfish crackers. At any rate, he was crying. We passed an older gentleman who looked at him and said, "You're too old to be crying." Somehow it just struck me all wrong. If I had been standing there with a four year old girl, I'd be willing to bet he never would have told her she was too old to be crying. I have three daughters and I have been vastly irritated at the messages the world sends them- be thin, be sexy, make it all look effortless. I've spent considerable amounts of time trying to deconstruct those messages with my daughters. Today it was my sons turn. I looked right at him and said, "of course your not too old to cry. If you feel sad, you can cry. You never get too old to cry." And I hugged him (which was nice, though he would have preferred the crackers). According to Brene Brown, the insidious message our culture sends men is, "never be weak." I suppose that message is so engrained and internalized that a well intentioned gentleman at the store felt uncomfortable seeing my son cry and even anxious to shore up the "never be weak" message.
|My intrepid Dad with my daughter|
|The two boys I live with, love and am inspired by everyday.|