Blog Post

Well Being

It’s All Right To Cry 

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.

When I was a seven-year-old girl, I watched a television program called “Free To Be . . .You and Me.” Marlo Thomas, in collaboration with many gifted writers and entertainers, produced a show that promoted “independence and self-fulfillment, the human need for love, sharing and mutual assistance, [and] the joys of creative cooperative relationships with one’s parents, siblings, and friends” (from I loved the television program so much that my mother purchased the Free to Be record album which I played so often I practically wore it out. The songs and stories featured on the album have themes promoting tolerance and acceptance. It also undermines stereotypes of all kinds, specifically gender stereotypes.

One of the songs that stood out to me in particular was “It’s All Right to Cry” performed on the television program and album by former professional football defensive lineman, Rosey Grier. He was considered a “gentle giant” of a man that no one would dream questioning his masculinity.

It’s All Right to Cry*

It’s all right to cry

Crying gets the sad out of you.

It’s all right to cry

It might make you feel better.

Raindrops from your eyes

Washing all the mad out of you.

Raindrops from your eyes

It might make you feel better.

It’s all right to feel things

Though the feelings may be strange.

Feelings are such real things

And they change and change

And change . . .

Sad and grumpy.

Down in the dumpy

Snuggly huggly.

Mean and ugly

Sloppy slappy.

Hoppy happy

Change and change and change . . .

It’s alright to know

Feelings come and feelings go.

And it’s all right to cry

It might make you feel better.

At the end of his television performance, Mr. Grier looks straight into the camera and says, “It’s all right to cry little boy…I know some big boys that cry, too” (the video of his performance can be viewed on YouTube or at When I had children of my own, I ordered a CD version of the Free to Be album so that I could play it for them. The messages in the songs are just as relevant today as they were in the early 1970’s. Mr. Grier’s song, which came to be known in our house as “The Crying Song,” was requested by both of my sons at bedtime on occasions when they felt sad about something. The song reinforced my message to them that feelings are natural, normal, and acceptable. Even difficult feelings are bearable when we have emotional support. There was a period of time when my younger son asked to hear the song almost nightly following the unexpected death of his beloved preschool teacher’s disabled son. As we listened to the song, my son and I held on tight to each other as we dealt with the reality of the pain of loss together.

The messages in the songs are just as relevant today as they were in the early 1970’s.

My boys are older now. Several years have passed since “The Crying Song” was played in our home, and the Free to Be CD is now safely stored in a box of treasures I am saving for my future grandchildren. The important lessons from “It’s All Right to Cry” have not been forgotten. Both of my sons are still able to cry when they are feeling hurt or sad. Thank you, Mr. Grier!

*”It’s All Right To Cry,” lyrics and music by Carol Hall, Copyright ©1972 Free To Be Foundation, Inc.  Used by permission.

Kathryn Rea Smith, Ph.D. is a private practice psychologist specializing in psychological assessment and parenting consultation. Dr. Smith can be reached at

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