A word or so about crushes

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Here’s a little something most of you won’t be surprised to know at all.  I have had a ton of crushes into life.

Yes, yes, it’s easy to have a crush.  After all, such things usually focus on the physical and transform what would ordinarily be a basic attraction into something more than what it really is.  Illusion and delusion, all in one nice, neat little package.

This particular entry is aimed mainly at the parents of young boys who are a bit on the socially awkward side.  It’s easy to beat up the psyche of a child or adolescent who doesn’t have any concept of what it’s like to feel love.  Crushes are kind of the mind’s way of processing the feelings boys have, but really can’t make much sense of.  It could be the crush is aimed at a teacher, another student, or even the parent of another student.  And yes, they can be heterosexual or homosexual.  Like it or not, there’s no rhyme or reason, and there is little control a young male has over this.

That said, crushes serve some positive purposes.  When they are healthy, they can bring out the very best in a young male.  A crush can take what is a roiling cauldron of hormones and amateur machismo and turn it into something useful.  It allows a young male to explore emotional and physical aspects of growing up in a manner which can be very healthy and educational.  When treated with care and understanding, a young male will apply himself in ways never thought possible.  It can truly be a wonderful dress rehearsal for real courtship of a future mate.

Of course, there is a reason it’s called a crush.  When the ride ends, it’s crushing, both to the heart and the soul.  At this moment in time, support and acceptance are critical.  Teasing and brow beating will only create a situation which is not only uncomfortable, but potentially destabilizing.  For a young male, this is especially dangerous. That’s why such things require a strong, loving support system.

My crushes were usually a period of intense high, happiness and flights of fancy, almost always followed by a soul crushing moment where everything around me comes crashing down.  In some cases, the target of my affections pushed my face in the dirt.  More often, fortunately, my feelings were met with indifference.  Such irrelevance is beneficial in the long term because the heart and soul, however misguided in their feelings, can really only handle so much.  Of course, there were the crushes I had never admitted to, nor plan to reveal.  A few women have been the subject of intense feelings in my life and, though I suspect they know who they are, we are better served with me keeping that knowledge to myself. To this day, these memories still teach me things about myself that are applicable.

So the essential point, parents, is this…love your sons.  Don’t belittle their crushes and their feelings.  Please don’t say “be a man” because that is a stupid notion.  Be supportive, understanding and accepting.  Mothers, share your heartbreaks with them; fathers, lift them up and remind them there’s always another opportunity around the corner.  And to those who are the subject of said affection, please try to embrace that which is healthy and genuine…you never know when that crush could become a real heavenly romance later.  Also, remind them they crushes can happen at any age.

The world has enough fighters.  We need more lovers, and crushes are their basic training.  Allow the good it makes to shine through, and let them have enjoy hope for those brief shining moments.  Too many parents deride crushes as being little boy stuff or mushy garbage that sets young males up for a fall later.  From personal experience, I can safely say the good far outweighs the bad.

To those I have had crushes on, thanks for putting up with me, and my (often frequent) stupidity.

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