Dr. Walter Sims believes that within the vulnerability of crying, lies strength.
I am known by a lot of people as that guy who smiles all the time. I created a hashtag entitled, #millionsmilemarch and I intend to make one million people smile. I’ve been told I could double for Steve Harvey on The Family Feud.
Hence, you would think shedding a tear would be the furthest thing from my mind.
But, quite the opposite is true. As I approach 50 years young in a few days, I find myself crying more than I have my entire life. While I am live streaming with The First Church of Periscope (FCOP), a tear can fall at a moment’s notice. This usually happens when I’m either saying something that the Lord has done for me or one of the members testifies to the goodness of God.
Last August, I received a call from my brother that my dad had suffered a massive stroke. I was finishing my round at Steve Harvey’s charity golf tournament in Suwanee, Georgia. I immediately left the golf course and headed to my hometown —Birmingham, Alabama. When I arrived at the hospital, my father was only breathing with the aide of the ventilator. On August 12, 2015, we decided, as a family, to take him off the ventilator. His body slowly shutdown.
That Wednesday evening, I broadcasted with my FCOP family. We were praising the Lord. I was preaching about how God loved us like my father loved me and my brothers and my sisters. One of my FCOP members commented that they knew my father was proud of me. When I read that comment, I lost it. Tears started flowing and I could not stop. The last conversation my father and I had, those were his exact words.
Walter, I am proud of you.
I was crying in front of about 150 people who were on the live stream with me on Periscope. Everyone was commenting how strong I was to be able to cry in front of them. It did make me feel better to be vulnerable in front of my virtual church family.
And then recently, the radio show that I host on WJPMG asked a question on our fan page,
What is it about the opposite sex that no matter how hard you try, you just can not figure out?
The majority of the responses dealt with the fact that men either do not want to cry or express their emotions. I was at Panera Bread the other day and asked a woman (who I did not know) this question–
Why do you think men don’t cry?
Her response was, They feel like it will make them appear weak. But this is so untrue. I love it when a man lets his emotions show.
Men, we have believed the stereotype that it is “uncool” to cry and show emotions. As I approach 50 years young, I am so comfortable in my own skin that I cry unapologetically.
If I can offer some advice to the men today, it would be threefold.
1. – Manhood is not defined by the display of emotions.
There is a stereotype that men are weak if they cry. This is drilled into the heads of boys before they learn to walk, Do Not Cry. One of my friends told me her son was helping his dad in the garage building a box for his toys. She was standing in the doorway of the garage watching him use the hammer. He accidently hit his thumb and he wanted to cry so bad but his dad looked at him with that look that said, You better not cry. She told me her son just whimpered a little but he did not cry. My friend and I just laughed. But this supports the stereotype that men are not suppose to cry, no matter what. But guys, come on, it is quite ok to cry and your tears do not determine whether or not you are a man. I love this quote,
Crying does not mean a person is weak, but it means a person has a heart ~ Abishek Tiwari
2. – Be ok with being human
We were not built as robots. We are emotional creatures. Every now and then, a situation will call for a tear to be shed.
One of my favorite movies of all times is Robocop. A police officer was killed in the line of duty. His body was used as a prototype for a new weapon for the police department, a human robot. Guess what guys, we are not robots. We have emotions. If you love someone, tell them. If you are excited about something, show it. If you are moved to tears, cry.
My wife and I were watching the Nicholas Sparks’ movie, Best of Me. By the end of that movie, I was balling like a baby. My wife asked, “Are you ok?: I told her, “Yes, I am fine.” I am such a romantic and I love to watch love stories.
We have emotions men. We have been fearfully and wonderfully made by a divine creator that have emotions like He does. We have been made in the image and likeness of God with emotions. Displaying these emotions is not only alright, but if you realize that you are human, it will make you more compassionate and more understanding towards your fellow man. I am so thankful my father did not mind letting me know that he was proud of me. My father was a good man.
3. – Be comfortable with being an emotional man
It is not only women (and children) who appreciate a man sensitive enough to cry when he is moved to do so, I believe it is the confidence that is so appealing. It takes quite a bit of confidence to let someone see you cry. It puts you in a place of vulnerability. Men who are confident and have a high self-esteem, do not mind putting themselves “out there.” One of my quotes is, Vulnerable people are confident people. When you are comfortable in your own skin, what others do does not influence you either to do or not to do. You move to the beat of your heart and you know that it is ok to be the YOU that YOU are.
Not long ago, I spoke to a local fifth-grade graduation class and my keynote speech was, “Dare To Be You.” I challenge the men today to be authentic and unapologetic when it comes to displaying emotions. If you sit in the audience and listen to your youngest son deliver his salutatorian speech on graduation night, go ahead and cry if you want to. You were the one that went to every basketball game and every choir competition and helped with putting together a fourth grade history poster book. You were there when a girl broke his heart. You were there when his knee dislocated in a basketball game. You were there when he got his driver’s license. You helped him pick out his first car. You took him to look for Easter suits. Go ahead man, cry if you want to! It really is ok.