What kids learn from seeing dad cry

tearsThere’s a lot of research about fighting in front of your children, not much of anything on crying.

I was raised with never seeing my father cry one time. Nothing seemed to shake or move him, at least he didn’t show it through tears. I learned later in life that he finds it easier to shed a tear now and again.

I think in general expressing emotions is a good thing. I get a very interesting response from my kids when they observe me crying. One watches and almost studies me and the other will eventually come up and put their arm around me in silence. One child told me that when they observe me crying they suspect that “I am worried about something, tender, happy or sad. Your tears teach me that it’s OK to cry.”

Kids can learn that a tear from dad is “unloading” a burden, an expression of joy, or complete humility over the grace that God gives or even a memory of something sneaking out. Kids also learn about empathy and the freedom to show their emotions when moved.

Whatever you cry about, don’t be fooled into thinking you are raising tougher more resilient kids by holding back tears. I have found when kids do catch a tear rolling off dad’s cheek it can open up many, many relevant and deep conversations and let them inside dad’s heart.

Tears are words that the heart simply can not express.

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