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I’m not a mother (yet), but boys grow up to be men, and I’ve met enough to know–most really struggle with emotion.

Emotion is a sign of weakness, we’ve all heard some version of that tall tale. However, in my opinion, there are some key preface words missing–lack of control of emotion, is a sign of weakness. Emotion itself, is actually a sign of vulnerability, which is a sign of openness, and also a sign of honesty. To me, this shows evidence of strength in character, quite the opposite of weakness. The key however, is knowing how to process your emotional pulses without letting them take over. Most men, never learn this, they only learn to suppress, making them underneath it all, one big emotional nerve ending. When they finally do shed a little light on that side of themselves and it’s taken for granted in the slightest of ways, the result is often a “harder” version of themselves which simply means, bitter, cynical, cold, and unapologetic. I’m not sure how one finds any type of joy in life carrying that type of shield. And fellas, if you think “the one” will make you shed those hard feelings, think again. Any woman worthy of being “the one” will surely do an about face, because as Sweet Brown says–Ain’t nobody got time for that.

If you’re a grown man and this hits home, the only way to change is the same way any adult has a chance at change, you make a decision and then do things differently. If you’re a grown woman, you may be blessed with the responsibility of raising a man someday, so this message is still relative, it all starts with you. Don’t let anyone throw the blanket statement “stop crying” at your son, not even their Father. Tears are an opportunity to get off on the right track of emotion with your child. Find out what’s going on with him and teach him how to deal with it, how to control it, how to use it; else, later in life, the chances are pretty high he will struggle with relationship, after relationship, after relationship, the most important of which will be with himself.

By all means, this message applies to the girls too, but I really wanted to get specific with the boys in response to the stigma. I’m hoping to change the message a bit…big boys DO cry. Not only do they cry, but they grow up to be exceptional men.