While dropping my boys off at preschool this morning I overheard a conversation between two parents that went something like this:
Parent 1: “I know it’s probably a contradiction, because I don’t get onto my daughter about it, but I tell my son: Boys don’t cry. Unless you’re hurt you there is nothin’ to cry over.”
Parent 2: “Oh yeah, I tell my son the same thing...”
This is when I quickly got into my minivan and left. I was so frustrated by the whole thing and now it just makes me sad thinking about how common this mentality is. We train our boys from birth to stuff their emotions inside then we wonder why we can’t get the men in our lives to “open up” and share how they feel.
I want my boys to be confident in their emotional health. To be able to feel strong in their tears and express matters of the heart knowing they are in a safe place to do so. (In order for us women to teach this we must have some reign on our own emotional lives, but that post is for another day) I realize, as in everything, this looks different for each child because personalities differ greatly. I have three very different little men in my house and in time I will have to learn how to help guide them through healthy emotional responses based on their individual needs.
As with most things boys, a Father’s influence in this area is greatly more effective, however I recognize not every wife is blessed with a husband who has overcome this tough guy mentality or was never challenged with it in the first place. (But we can help them with it as well, in fact we are called to do so… but again, that is for another time) nevertheless we can’t let that be an excuse to fall back into the world’s “normal.” We will have to do this on purpose.
FACT: BOYS CRY! Men need to feel free to do so, and women need to realize just how sensitive our boys (and our men) really are. If we want to raise healthy, loving, compassionate, caring men then we must respect their hearts and teach them how to articulate their emotions, not handicap them with “tough guy” stereotypes.
Until next time,