Human beings are the only creatures able to shed tears in response to emotional stress. This is what makes us different from animals. But because of social, cultural, or parental influence, crying makes us feel embarrassed and uncomfortable.
Learning to Cry
How often have we heard the admonition, “Big boys don’t cry.” It is dinned into the minds of children that crying signifies weakness. An advertisement on TV showed how a boy who was reminded that “boys don’t cry” through his developmental years. He grew into an emotionally repressed adult and became moody, glum, and short-tempered. Later in life, he turned into a tyrant and wife batterer and was convicted of domestic violence.
In ancient literature, we read about great heroes who were not afraid to cry. Achilles cried at the death of his friend Patroclus. Aneas wept for the loss of his friends and companions in war. In Egyptian mythology, Isis wept for the dead Osiris. In the Bible, we read that Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. In recent times, Presidents like Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Regan, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush have been known to shed tears in public.