I remember the first time I saw a boy cry. I was in bed saying my prayers with my Dad. We started talking about my uncle Billy, who passed away from pancreatic cancer when I was six. My Dad loved him, looked up to him, was inspired by him, and missed him. He also was scared because everyone in his side of the family had cancer. His dad died of lung cancer when my dad was 14, and his Mom had breast cancer (although she recovered). He started to cry. Actually, that might have been the first time I had seen either one of my parents cry. My Dad died two years ago and my Mom cries a lot now. I’m used to it. I also understand that boys cry now. But I’ll never forget the shock I felt in my 7 year old mind when my Dad cried in front of me for the first time. Boys should not be afraid to cry. Crying is natural, it’s the emotions that you really feel. It is damaging for children to think boys aren’t allowed to, or cannot, cry. Boys feel like they can’t show their emotions, and girls just think it isn’t real. And the sad thing is I spent 7 years of my life thinking that boys just didn’t cry, boys were strong, boys didn’t feel. But boys and girls- they’re the same. They all have worries, fears, goals, and dreams. I think once I realized that the world became a much less scary place. Emotions are raw, real, vulnerable…but not scary. Tell people how you feel, build bonds, and don’t be afraid to cry. Crying’s natural, hiding it’s not.

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