Lessons from a ten-year-old me
Earlier this year Laura Ingraham appeared on Sean Hannity’s show, mocking former President Obama for tearing up during his farewell address. Ingraham said she’d “never seen a man grab a tissue” like that before. She’s not the first, nor will she be the last, who will try to attack men for crying, but even a ten year old knows better.
When I was 10, I was watching the movie Brian’s Song in the living room with my family. The true story about a young football player in his prime dying of cancer would defy anyone to stay dry eyed, and sure enough, toward the end I felt tears welling up in my eyes. But I didn’t want my dad to know, so I tried to shift in a way he couldn’t see my face. As credits rolled, ashamed, I got up and tried to leave but my dad said, “Let’s you and I go for a walk.” When we got outside, he said he saw that I was crying and that he wanted me to know that he had teared up too. Further, he wanted me to know that it’s ok on occasion to cry. That it was, in fact, perfectly normal and a quite human thing to do. That didn’t mean crying at every little thing, but that feeling emotions and expressing them was totally acceptable.
At 10 I learned a valuable lesson. And those who seek to tear others down for their humanity must take a hard look at themselves. If we try to strip away that, what’s left is unconscionable. At our core, it’s our humanity and civility that matter most, and I weep for those who think otherwise.