Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Men And Feelings

After the relative bliss of my extended weekend, returning to work was a bit daunting. I was two days behind in accumulated emails, I had to unpack from my move, and I had to get my bearings in a new building, all while trying not to miss a beat in an otherwise normal and hectic day. I am in a building called the Clock Tower Building. I am in a corner with a window that faces south. Directly behind me is a small round room that is actually part of the clock tower. There is a small table and chairs in there. When no one is looking I think I will remove this furniture and toss some over sized pillows in there. It would make a great Zen meditation room that would be much more valuable to most employees than another conference room. The silence of meditation would be much more valuable than most of the talking that occurs in meetings.

Not long ago 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 three year old 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 the last three years 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.

The following link is to photos from my retreat weekend taken by a friend of mine. I thought some of you might enjoy them.

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