“Boys to men”, need a safe place where they are taught not to deny their pain, but how to endure it. Yes, we are tough, but we have tear ducts, too.
As kids, our mother would observe the dark clouds moving in. She would tell us to settle down, be quiet, unplug the TV and the Stereo, “it’s coming up a storm”. Sure enough, in just a little while, the lightning would start flashing, we could hear the sound of thunder, the wind would start blowing, then came the rain pounding on our ten roof (an amazing sound), although scary sometimes if it was a really bad storm. The sound of a storm- -we could hear it, but we were safe in our storm shelter. However, there is another storm; a quiet storm that often comes without warning and with no shelter in place.
As little boys, we were often told not to cry…..don’t be a sissy…dry up those tears boy…get up, you are not hurt, even when the blood was still running down our leg with pieces of the pavement and glass hanging from the wound. We were told to “suck it up”, so we would muster up enough strength to fight back the tears. Then the reward would come, “you are a big boy and big boys don’t cry; they are tough”. We then began learning the life lesson of “denying our pain”. We would get scolded for crying and rewarded for being tough–even when you could still see the blood. That belief system took on a life of its own and over the years we learned to deny our pain and hold back the tears, even though we were hurting. This gets a little more confusing as you get older; when our girlfriends tell us we are not sensitive and demand we get in touch with our feelings (tears), if we want to continue the relationship.
From “boys to men”, we have perfected “denying our pain”; even when the knife of betrayal is still in our backs, we say I’m all right. Just like the pellets from a shotgun are scattered, so have negative words been scattered in our hearts over the years, we still say I am good, I’m ok. We have locked ourselves in the handcuffs of bad choices and mistakes; yet we still deny the self-inflicted pain we feel. As we are looking through the bars of regret and shame, we still confess it’s all good, but as quiet as it is kept, “it’s coming up a storm”. The dark clouds of depression are getting closer; the winds of controversy are blowing; the lightning of anger is flashing; the thunder of disappointment is roaring; and yes, the rain of bitterness and resentment is heavily falling. Who can escape from this kind of storm? Our families and our communities need a storm shelters and even we need one for ourselves–because 80% of people, who “quit” on life and commit suicide are men.
Boys and men, both, need a safe place where they are taught not to deny their pain, but how to endure it. Where they are taught, yes, we are tough, but we have tear ducts, too. It’s okay to cry while we are cleaning the glass and pavement out of the wound; let the tears flow while you are pulling the knife of betrayal out of your back; it’s okay to admit the pain and the shame of mistakes and bad choices; while learning skills to unlock those handcuffs, and yes, we have been hurt by painful words like, “you just like your no-good daddy”, but through the tears we learn to forgive.
On the other hand, nobody wants a wimpy man or a whining boy, and there are times we have to suck it up. We are built to fight, we are born with the ability to shut down our emotions and even in fear, act on instinct to protect those whom we love. Then, there are times to let the water (tears) flow and it’s in that safe place, boys and men find their storm shelter. To deny boys and men, alike, that safe place is to deny our homes and communities a storm shelter because “it’s coming up a storm.”
© Copyright 2014 Glen Warren/Fathers Forever All Rights Reserved