Photo Credit: Picture-Book
My husband and I looked forward to the day our oldest son would have his first haircut. It wasn’t that we didn’t love his hair – to me, there’s nothing cuter than a little boy with a huge headful of hair. And boy did he have that! The problem was that he did not like having it combed or brushed – so trying to maintain it became a problem. It would become tangled due to him resisting having it combed or brushed (and by resisting, I mean wailing and writhing in protest). No matter how gently I combed it, singing songs to distract him, he would not tolerate it. As a result, his hair often appeared disheveled and that was just not okay. However, my husband didn’t feel he should have a haircut before age two, so we waited until he was closer to that age.
His first haircut was absolutely adorable and he was a happier little boy without a headful of hair that needed to be combed each day. I was a happier mom too, now that each morning wasn’t a screaming match and he also looked very well groomed and handsome. I then came up with the idea of my husband cutting his hair himself. What a great money saver that would be, I thought excitedly! After all, he owns his own clippers which he uses to trim his moustache and beard. And how difficult could it be to give a 3-year-old boy a hair cut? It’s not like it needs to look perfect. So I decided to share this brilliant suggestion with my husband.
My husband appeared stunned that I asked such a question, and he stared at me with widened eyes. I interpreted his silence to mean he was speechless with happiness, so I went on! I reminded him of how it would really save us money in the long-run, if we were able to do it ourselves… and that extra money could be used toward doing something fun with the boys on the weekends.
After a thoughtful silence he finally spoke up and said, “Well…. you are right. It would save us a lot of money. Overall, let’s see… between now and when he turns 18 we’d probably save thousands of dollars.” I nodded enthusiastically in agreement – looks like we were on the same page!
But then my husband smiled and said, “But I don’t think I should cut his hair. You see, although I could do it from home and it would look decent… he’d be losing out on so much more.”
“What?” I said, confused. Our son would be losing out?
“Well, he would lose the experience of the barber shop. For a young black man, the barber shop is a rite of passage,” he explained to me. He saw the look of disbelief on my face and went on. “You see, most men start going at a very young age and stay loyal to the same barber as the years go by. A lot goes on in the barbershop… friends connect, we fellowship with one another, sometimes a guy is reading the bible aloud to a group of people, other times a game of Chess is being played. It’s a relaxing, jovial, and comfortable place. I don’t want him to miss out on that.”
So, although I could cut his hair at home for free, I think we should allow him to enjoy this experience. It’s one that I had, my brother had, our dad, and grand-dad too.”
Oh my! I had no idea the barbershop was such a meaningful part of a young boy’s life. I was glad my husband had explained this to me. As long as his hair is getting cut someway I am a happy camper – and if he is also gaining a rich and memorable bonding experience in the process than I am happy with that too! What an interesting lesson I learned that afternoon!