There are definitely things that men should and could cry over. If we use Jesus as our example, I believe we'll see that he cried over things that men should cry for, and as Christ-followers, we could too.
Jesus shed tears over loved ones dying. He cried over the state of Jerusalem, and the fact that He wanted to save them, but they continually rejected his offer of salvation. I believe Jesus is very saddened over sinners who are unwilling to repent of their sin and come into a loving relationship with Him, because rejecting Him will ultimately lead to their destruction and eternal damnation. So we see, Jesus cried, and as men, we can too, but not over anything!
When we allow our boys to cry over everything, we're teaching them to be manipulative and abusive. When someone cries, the natural response of those around them is to feel sorry for them, or a sense of burden for what they're going through. But if what they're going through is nothing more than not getting their way, then they've manipulated the masses. We see politicians do this often. They'll go out, commit a crime or sin of some nature, get caught, then make an "emotional" appeal to their constituents for forgiveness. Then, when the cameras are off, they dry their eyes, and go back to work! (Manipulation!)
So, what shouldn't boys be allowed to cry over? Here's just a few things I've seen them cry over in my 17 years of parenting:
- Losing at a board game. (If you can't take losing, don't play baby.)
- Losing at video games. (Ditto)
- Being given chores. (If a man doesn't work, he shouldn't eat. God made men to work.)
- When he doesn't get his way. (This is life, get use to it.)
- When someone calls him a name. (Your identity is in Christ, be secure in that.)
- When work is too hard. (If you need help, ask, don't cry.)
- Because they think someone doesn't like them. (If mom and dad do, that's enough.)
- When his feelings are hurt. (Think about Jesus.)
- When his brothers use "his" stuff, that mom and dad bought. (It's good to share.)
- When he thinks others are being treated better. (They might be, parents are sinners.)
I regularly remind my boys that mendon't just cry over anything. They weren't created for such behavior. They're men; they were created to protect, to conquer, to fight, to worship, to provide, and yes, on occasion, to even shed a tear. When friends or loved ones die or are sick, shed a tear. When something very valuable to them is lost or broken, and can't be replaced-- I say, go ahead, shed a tear. When the unrepentant harden their hearts to the gospel, and vanish for all eternity, shed a tear. When we fix our gaze upon the LORD and see the suffering He endured, yes, as men we should be saddened, and shed tears of remorse over our sin that did it to Him.
So you see, it's ok for your boys and young men to cry, but not over anything. Raise them up to control their emotions, to harness their strength, and to use their passion for kingdom building. Boys are truly a gift from the LORD; let's not let the gift be wasted!
For help raising your boys, I recommend: