In a class I teach for adults, I recently did the "unpardonable." I gave the class homework! The assignment was to "go to someone you love within the next week and tell them you love them. It has to be someone you have never said those words to before or at least haven't shared those words with for a long time."
Now that doesn't sound like a very tough assignment, until you stop to realize that most of the men were over 35 and were raised in the generation of men that were taught that expressing emotions is not "macho." Showing feelings or crying (heaven forbid!) was just not done. So this was a very threatening assignment for some.
At the beginning of our next class, I asked if someone wanted to share what happened when they told someone they loved them. I fully expected one of the women to volunteer, as was usually the case, but on this evening one of the men raised his hand.
He appeared quite moved and a bit shaken. As he unfolded out of his chair(all 62" of him), he began by saying, Dennis, I was quite angry with you last week when you gave us this assignment. I didn't feel that I had anyone to say those words to, and besides, who were you to tell me to do something that personal?
"But as I began driving home my conscience started talking to me. It was telling me that I knew exactly who I needed to say I love you to. You see, five years ago, my father and I had a vicious disagreement and really never resolved it since that time. We avoided seeing each other unless we absolutely had to at Christmas or other family gatherings.
But even then, we hardly spoke to each other.
"So last Tuesday by the time I got home I had convinced myself I was going to tell my father I loved him."