Skip to main content

Let Them Cry!!

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
Crying is not weakness. A long, long time ago, before 3 daughters and a son another boy in my life cried. It was a pivotal moment of caring and love, but it was not weakness. It was just a few weeks before my wedding and I was having my "cold feet" moment. Were we doing the right thing? Was I sure? Was he sure? I was having this anxiety filled conversation with my betrothed. He got up and said he needed to go outside for a minute. He had turned from me, but I thought I saw something. I grabbed him and turned him toward me. He was crying!! He had not wanted me to see it. In an instant all my doubts, fears and concerns melted away. This man loved me (poor misguided soul)! More then I had imagined! I knew suddenly and completely that this was a man who would stick by my side and love me, even when I left him standing on a roadside in the middle of nowhere. And he has. So, I say, let's let our girls be flawed and imperfect and know they still have immeasurable value. And please, let's let our men cry and have emotion and tenderness and know that there tenderness makes them strong and wise! To the greatest men I know, my Dad and Husband and Son, thank you for the love and tenderness and even the tears you've gifted me!
The two boys I live with, love and am inspired by everyday.


Popular posts from this blog

Go To Hell, It's Summer!

Yesterday was the last day of school for my three oldest kids. I feel like I just crossed the finish line of a marathon, hands on my knees gasping for air.  The past few weeks I’ve passed other parents at bus stops, in school hallways, on field trips and returned their dazed looks with “how are you?” The predominant refrain is, “you know, June is crazy.” Yes, I know. Here is a sampling of what has been added to my already full schedule this month. Three separate choir concerts, a dance recital, 6 field trips, an end of the year medieval celebration, my daughter's formal “spring fling dance” and middle school graduation. Somewhere in there is the pressure to get (or even worse- make) a grand thank you gift for all my kid’s teachers and the guilt of failing, again, to do this simple task that everyone else seems capable of. Top that off with under-slept kids frantic about finals, excited about yearbooks and over sugared from end of the year celebrations. As I drop my daughter off …

Media Literacy

Years ago my life offered up a juxtaposition with a profound lesson. I was a mom of two little girls under the age of 5 and relishing the experience. During that time I was asked to help lead the youth group at my church. During the day, I spent my time oohing and awing over crayon drawings of heads with arms and legs coming out of them. Not that my two daughters needed my praise; they clearly felt whatever they created was a masterpiece without my saying so. 

In the evenings once or twice a week and every weekend, I spent time teaching and playing with girls ages 12 to 18. I began to notice something startling. My little girls preened and danced and colored and delighted in themselves and life. You could tell them they were smart, kind, talented, beautiful and they would grin and nod knowingly. Not so with the teens I loved. They would continuously scrutinize themselves and find themselves terribly lacking. Try to compliment them and they deflected. Of course, there were girls who buc…

The Beauty in Chaos

While busily preparing dinner few months ago, I commented to a friend on the phone that I was, "just worn out." It had been a long day that began too early and I was trudging grudgingly through what remained to be done before bed time. A few minutes later, I noticed Chloe, my 8 year old, in a creative frenzy with paper, markers, glitter. . . (she gets that from her artist father, my creative frenzy looks like dessert). I was commanded not to look. She next requested help from a sibling to drag a card table upstairs. A few minutes later she began squirreling away with dishes from my kitchen. I had a pretty good idea of where this was going; my 8 year old is an incurable romantic. (The only one in our house, I might add.) I, not being quite as romantic in my nature, was thinking of the work involved in cleaning up her scheme, but I digress.

By the time my husband got home I had dinner ready (can you hear the heavenly angels singing? They do that when I can manage to have dinn…