Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Backbone

"I have to be strong. I'm the backbone."

That's what the man told me as he sat in my office, tears streaming down his cheeks, venting to me about the problems he was facing in his family. It's hard to watch a grown man cry but it's also very encouraging because I'm convinced that when we begin to admit our weakness and let our rue feelings show, real healing and growth can begin.

I'm not sure why we as men think that we can't be emotional. Nor do I understand why men are so afraid to share their feelings. Somewhere along the time line of history, men got this crazy idea in their heads and for some reason have a hard time getting rid of that notion.

As I look at history though, what little bit of it I know, I can recall some great men who were not afraid to let their feelings show and admit their weaknesses. In fact, all great leaders know that the best way to compensate for their weaknesses is to surround themselves with people who make up for their weaknesses (just look at their wives. We ALL married out of our league.) Presidents have cried. Kings have cried. Military leaders have cried. Even the greatest man who ever lived cried (check out the shortest verse in the whole Bible, John 11:35).

I'm thinking if men like that can show emotion, the rest of us should not be afraid of it. I believe that showing emotion is not a wimpy thing, but one of the most manly things a man can do (and I've heard that chicks dig it too, at least my wife likes it when I am man enough to show some emotion).

So What?

Backbones were designed to bend but not break. Think about it. If your backbone could not bend, life would not be very pleasant. Obviously, if it breaks you're in serious trouble. So as a man, leader, influencer, or just everyday person, don't be afraid to bend and show some emotion. You will probably find that your "body" (i.e. family, staff, friends, etc.) is way more comfortable and effective when you do.