Monday, November 30, 2009

A Crying Shame

Wasn't Thanksgiving great? The first thing I have been telling people who have been asking, "How was your break?" is:

I was in a house with 6 kids under the age of 6.
It was interesting."

Notice, I choose not to say anything negative about the experience, because ultimately, it was not a negative experience. It was, in all reality, just interesting. I got to see some good parenting, some stern parenting, and learn a little bit more about myself as an uncle to 6 crazy kids. More than anything, being so long around nieces and nephews prompts a little Gospel thought and life consideration.

Kids cry. They do. They cry and they shout, and they scream while they do both. I got to observe this the past week. Another interesting observation I was able to make this week came during a saturday trip to the movie theaters with my parents. We saw a stop-time animation movie, in which the eyes of the dolls playing characters would tear (like "cry") up at certain points in the plot where I didn't necessarily find crying necessary or un-restrainable.

The question may be a bit obtuse of me, however I couldn't help but think:

What are the appropriate times/situations/feelings for crying?

If I were teaching a child about how or when to cry, how would I do it? Would simple sadness be worthy of tears? Would joy or loss be reason to cry? When is it appropriate to express oneself through the art of secreting saline solutions out of ducts in one's face?

I think sometimes how sad it is that I hardly cry anymore. I am prone to think that it's because I wasted so many tears on such trivial matters when I was younger. For instance, I had to pee really bad but could not locate a bathroom in time. I did not want to eat peas or any sort of mushy vegetables, but had to choke them down regardless. I fell and bumped my knee and cried out of surprise rather than actual pain. I played a huge role in losing a crucial game for me and my teammates on my high school baseball team.

Then I think of profound experiences in life. Feeling the Spirit in abundance. Leaving Parents and Siblings for a long time. Losing a grandparent. Losing a favorite cousin. I think these moments are the ones worthy of tears.

I think I would have my kids save their trivial tears so they could weep in moments when weeping was really the only thing left to do. I think I will try and teach them that, if teaching that is even really possible to teach.

I love when Elder Bednar quoted from a speech by Marvin J. Ashton:

"In his message Elder Ashton detailed and described a number of less conspicuous spiritual gifts—attributes and abilities that many of us might not have considered being spiritual gifts. For example, Elder Ashton highlighted the gifts of asking; of listening; of hearing and using a still, small voice; of being able to weep; of avoiding contention; of being agreeable; of avoiding vain repetition; of seeking that which is righteous; of looking to God for guidance; of being a disciple; of caring for others; of being able to ponder; of bearing mighty testimony; and of receiving the Holy Ghost."

Which times warrant tears?


  1. My kids cry a lot, but it's only when they are really sad that they have tears. Seeing their tears makes me want to cry.

    Crying is interesting to think about though because I remember almost everyone I have talked to say they cried when their children were born. I didn't cry, I didn't even think to cry. Should I have cried?

    I think that's one of the beautiful things about crying, it's an emotional outlet for when you really need it. One person may need it in a certain situation, where another needs it in another.

    Anyways, see you in a couple weeks, for a whole lot more crying! (ps- was I the stern parent?)

  2. I think the real crying shame is trying to suppress tears because I deem them 'inappropriate' for the situation. Backing up tears doesn't make them un-exist, it just makes them ... backed up.

    I cry when I feel the need. I never force it and I never try to hold it back.

  3. ooooh. I am with Meg... probably because I am a cry baby.