Fostering different emotions holds a lot of advantages for health as adults, research has shown. However, it appears we are starting to realise this a little too late. Notably, there is a significant lack of emotional diversity in children, especially young boys. We often box them unnecessarily in shackles that will do them no good when they become adults. These same shackles, we try to break off when they become adults, but it turns out difficult for them and for us to let go as it appears quite often, that we have only managed to shine light on only one part of the emotions they’ve been blessed with, their anger. We leave other emotions vulnerable. We do not teach boys to love and feel loved, to feel compassion, empathy, kindness, etc. Emotional expression by all genders holds great benefits beyond psychological health benefits, unlike emotional suppression that comes with dire consequences.
Our Society And The Dismal Lack Of Paying Attention To Details
Our society runs an imbalanced script. Most times, you find yourself wondering why beliefs such as the fact that men should be less expressive emotionally could find any root in our society. Interestingly, we take an unwarranted detour and create laws, decrees, code of conducts, etc., to tackle the consequences of our ignorance; the consequences of our regarding a certain gender as the “weaker” gender and another, the “stronger” gender, and we rather play a blind eye at the root causes of many evils in the society.
The fear often arises when we do not embrace emotions as a fundamental part of our being as humans and we believe that we can relegate them to the background or even neglect them totally. Unfortunately, they cannot be suppressed for too long; the fight back is often too brutal and uncontrollable for any of our systems to handle. Yet, we do not admit our failure in this regard.
The Rough Way Ahead Without Emotions
In the article titled The importance of fostering emotional diversity in boys by June Gruber and Jessica L. Borelli, they admitted thus – “Boys grow up in a world inhabited by a narrower range of emotions, one in which their experiences of anger are noticed, inferred and potentially even cultivated,” and I cannot seem to agree more. Perhaps, this is so because we want to keep propagating that it is a man’s world. What world is there without emotions as guiding compasses? Teaching boys and girls to cultivate their emotions and to know when and how to utilise them is a failsafe venture into the future especially since it will not be with safe hands alone, but safe minds also.
The Way Forward- Focusing on The Things That Matter
It is about time we focused our discussions on things that matter. While we can be so keen on getting our children educated, I think it is most imperative that we train their emotions first, and allow it serve as premise upon which their judgment and all other cognitive functions rest. We do not have to rely on research to put us in the right direction especially since we have lost it for too long.
Therefore, it is not too late; we can still teach our children (boys and girls inclusive) to experience the full range of emotions. This in fact can be the only way to make our world a better place. I urge you to read the full article here