Friday, September 12, 2008

Sometimes Boys And Men Cry Too

All of my daily thoughts are also posted on this blog. Sometimes I get responses from people in other parts of the world. Publishing my thoughts on the Internet has greatly expanded the number of potential readers. I am reminded how powerful my words and the words of others can be. I have no idea how many people see and read my daily thoughts. People seem curious about this. More than once I have been asked, "So how many people actually read your thoughts"? I can estimate how many are on my email distribution. However, I have no idea how many of you forward them to others who forward them to others, etc, or how many read them on the Internet. In my mind, my daily thoughts are like seeds that are scattered to the wind. Where they go and where they land is anyone's guess. Many days I hear from someone telling me I wrote what they needed to hear. Other days my readers are silent. Most days I wonder if I even said anything of value. I am a life long spiritual seeker and when I think I have found something of value along my path, I usually share it, hoping it is of value to others. Sometimes I think people believe I am always at peace, always centered, and never flustered. One or two think I glow in the dark because of the Zen flame that burns within me. (smile) The truth is that I am pretty average and I often struggle with my life and the challenges it presents. I am a naturally introspective person. My daily thoughts simply represent a transformation from a private journal keeper to a more public thinker. I am not always right and sometimes I probably have no idea what I am talking about. I simply think out loud and others often agree with me or are prompted to do their own reflections. I've proven that an ordinary guy can think deeply about life and God and granddaughters and music and many other things. My daily thoughts are simply my life as well as many of the conversations going on inside my mind and heart.

Once I was playing with my granddaughter, Chloe. At one point, and I can't remember why, I pretended to cry. Chloe lifted her hand and said, "Stop! Boys don't cry"! Where did she pick up that message? Why does a young child...a girl...think boys don't cry? I assured her that boys...and Pa Paw's...sometimes cry. There's a myth in our culture that men do not cry, feel few emotions, and have no deep feelings. I know that I am not a typical man. However, I believe that even so called "tough" men have feelings. What we have not traditionally had is permission to express them. To be healthy, all men and women need a balance of masculine and feminine traits. As a man I am expected to be tough with my feelings tightly wound and held within. As a man, I certainly can be tough when the situation requires it. But anyone who has read my daily thoughts for any length of time knows the kind of emotion I am capable of expressing. Women do not have a monopoly on kindness, affection, and sensitivity. I am proud to be a sensitive man who is not afraid or embarrassed to express his feelings. I urge all of you who have influence in the lives of boys and young men to help them be in touch with their feelings. Sensitive and caring men are not usually full of the stereotypical male bravado but they often possess a quiet strength that will outlast the false courage of so called tough men.

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