I just read an astounding story about a university in Utah. It seems it is finals time, so students are working hard. They are getting very stressed out. They are studying all night and stressing out and living on coffee and energy drinks. It is a tough time.
So, a well-meaning person at the college decided to build the students a “cry closet.” It’s a small, free-standing room, set up in the library, where students can go to sob their stress away. It has padded walls and floor and even a few stuffed animals in it. Sounds pretty cozy, huh?
My first thought when I read this is, “These are the kids of the kids who stormed the beaches at Normandy? What the heck has happened?”
Now I’m not saying that college finals are not tough. They are. They are stressful and demanding and nerve wracking and important. But they’re not the only things in the world that are. Just ask the firefighters, the cops and the military. Just ask the teachers and the pilots and the paramedics. Heck, just ask a farmer. Life is stressful, and you don’t always have a safe, soft place to go cry.
So, if colleges are places to prepare young minds for the real world, what is a cry box preparing them for?
But then I thought of the answer. It’s actually genius, putting in that cry box. But it’s not for people to actually go in there and cry, it’s for the rest of them. It’s for the kids who have been living in the library for a week who are just about to crack. All they have to do is look into that box and they will begin to laugh. They will see the absurdity of stuffed animals in a college library and they will giggle.
They’ll think, “I’m stressed out, but at least I’m not huddled in a closet, sobbing into a soft pink rabbit.” It will ease their stress. It will give them confidence to know that they’re still okay. It will help them remember that this too shall pass. And it will teach them how to handle stress in the future. Boy, what a great idea. I’ll bet it catches on in the rest of the world, too.
Just think, farmers, if we built a couple of cry boxes in the middle of a few fields, you too could go there after a hailstorm. You could look in there and see the furry little stuffed animals and it would give you confidence. You might be looking at a lot of stress, but at least you’re not in there sobbing. Because if you were, you would be providing a lot of comedy relief for all the neighbors.