While running errands the other day, I witnessed a boy, maybe seven or eight years old, absolutely bawling his eyes out. I had no idea why, but there he stood, in the middle of the aisle, hands covering his face.
After about a minute, a man, whom I suspect was the boy's father, crouched in front of the crying child. I was waiting for consoling of some sort, but instead, what I heard, was a little shocking.
"No more crying. Boys don't cry. Man up."
The little boy wiped his nose with his sleeve and attempted to muffle his sniffles. The father put his hand on the boy's back as if to usher him out of the aisle, and they were gone.
I stood there for a few seconds a little taken aback.
Since when do boys not cry? I must have missed that memo.
Truthfully, I am always moved when I see a man showing his emotions. It is one of the many things I love about my husband. On our wedding day we did a first look where we see each other before the ceremony; me, all dressed in my beautiful, white dress and him in his tuxedo. He had his back to me and from the moment he turned around and took one look at me, he started bawling his eyes out. When our wedding ceremony started, and I started my walk down the aisle, I made eye contact with my husband and he was tearing up, again.
Those were both absolutely beautiful moments, for both of us, and I loved that he not only felt comfortable showing his emotions in front of me, but that he felt comfortable showing them in general.
I don't think I will ever understand the notion that crying is something only women do. I won't even get into how women are perceived when they do show emotions, particularly in the workplace. Women are very rarely put into positions of power, simply because they are seen as too emotional. Whenever a decision is made, it is questioned whether or not there's too much emotion in it.
As a parent, however, I want to encourage my children to express any and all of their emotions. No child should ever feel restricted from showing us exactly how they feel. Crying does not, and will not, ever make a man less of a man.
Having a son myself, I will do everything in my power to teach him that there is absolutely nothing wrong with showing your emotions.
If you want to cry, cry.
If you need to vent, vent.
If something makes you so angry, you're in tears, then so be it.
Sometimes, we just need a good cry. Boys, girls, women, men, it doesn't matter. It is such a strong and powerful emotion.
I never want my son to ever feel like he can't express himself in front of me or in front of others.
I never want my son to feel like any less of a person if he does cry.
I never want my son to think there is a negative connotation that comes with crying.
I never want my son to think it's "girly" to cry.
I never want my son to keep his feelings or emotions bottled up.
I want my son to be comfortable expressing his emotions, even if that includes crying.
Crying is not feminine; crying is not weak; crying is human.
No one, either child or adult, should ever be made to feel anything less. And I will make sure I pass this on to my son and eventually his children.