Wednesday, December 7, 2011

IMHO

A plea to my fellow mothers of boybarians:

With two boy having only recently entered the teen years, I'm by no means an expert on this whole taming wild carnivores parenting adolescents gig.  But there's one thing that bugs me no end every time I run into certain friends of my boys.

Hair.

Too much hair.  Too long.  Too shaggy.  Too girly.

Yes.  I realize there are bigger issues.  Drugs.  Promiscuity.  Violence.  I get it.  But honestly, take it from someone who lived through the seventies.  The groovy shaggy look is a sad mess. 

We all know what is the natural focus of the teen years.  ME.  ME.  MEAnd hair in his eyes and covering his face allows him to avoid relating to others through eye-to-eye contact.  Besides, he's too busy cocking his head at just the right angle, and flipping the hair almost-but-not-quite out of his eyes.  It's annoying enough to watch a girl constantly fidgeting with her hair, but a boy?  Twice as bad.  Awful.  Help him rise above the narcissism.

And for heaven's sake, help him look like a young man.  You may have found his curls adorable as a toddler, but it's time to lose the effeminate look.

It all 'clicked' with me as I've been driving the boys to their CAP meetings, and interacting with the other cadets there.  You see, at CAP there are (*gasp!*) grooming standards.  Not only are all the cadets and officers in uniform, they are also all neat and tidy.  They look up, meet my eyes, and greet me.  And it doesn't hurt that they unfailingly call me "Ma'am", and jump up to hold the door open, too.

Sure, their behavior matters more than their appearance, but don't you think there's some interplay there?  Maybe a lot?  And let me assure you, as an adult, it's much easier to approach and interact with a young man who has a fresh, clean, open face than one who is ungroomed, immature, and unmanly.

There are things you do for his own good, whether he likes it or not.  Keep his hair short.

16 comments:

tammy said...

amen. Although we have let Ryan grow out his hair in the past, (and the boy has a MOP of hair - black, thick, wavy hair that all the girls love - especially when it's longer and his bangs do this natural "flip" and on and on and on about his hair all.the.time AH!) the first sign of trouble, and it was gone. and now that he goes to a Catholic high school, they can be the bad guys and he has to wear it short and I LOVE it. I think it makes a huge difference in attitude, (or as my husband calls it, his "crapitude"), the way he carries himself, etc. BUT in the same breath, even with his longer hair, he was still my respectful, yes maam, no sir, type of boy.

Choate Family said...

Preach it, sister!

Cutzi said...

Hmmm....I think I might have to disagree with you on this one. It's just not a battle I would necessarily choose. It's like Adia wearing her Mt. Baker shirt every single day. As long as it's not dirty or immodest (pants hanging off their rears) I really think it's a stage most kids go through when they want to choose some things for themselves. My brother has his hair longish. My parents have a friend who constantly gives him a hard time about it - I really think it's a huge relationship blocker and overly and unnecessarily critical. There ARE definitely bigger things to worry about. In the case of my brother, he's a wonderful kid. Hair has no bearing on that.

Crystal in Lynden said...

You nailed it. The boy head flip drives me crazy.

The dB family said...

Bring it!!! I do! I do! What's even worse is grown men who find the need to wear their hair long. Why? Love the respect that CAP enforces. I think it goes a looong way. It doesn't just stay at cap, but will flow over into every day life too!

Blessings!
Deborah

P.S. The Boy here does it out of necessity too. The shorter the hair, the faster he swims. Or lately, the easier it is to get the swim cap on :o).

Q said...

Go, Baby, Go, and AMEN!

I always want to ask those tykes, "Do you know you look like a Shitzhu?

Bangs on a male - bad. Just bad. And it always comes with a long, lanky, hunched over stride, hands shoved in pockets.

No manhood to be found there!

melanie said...

Yes!

:D

nosmallthing said...

Hmmm...this is certainly food for thought. I actually kind of (gasp) like it longer. Oh dear Lord I can't believe I just wrote that. But I get your point. I don't like it REAL long, just a bit longer. And only for certain hair types. For instance, Henry can pull it off with his wavy red hair, William CAN NOT, not in any way shape or form. But I'll keep your thoughts in mind...

Cutzi said...

A couple more thoughts since I woke up thinking about this.

I also think we are all a part of different cultures. Some cultures we are born into. ie. Jesus and my friends from Ecuador were born into cultures where men wear their hair long. Other cultures, we choose to identify ourselves with. When I was in high school, I chose to be part of a culture of artists and musicians. Many of the boys had long hair in pony tails. They dressed kind of like hippies - partly because many of them were born to hippies who lived on islands. They were creative, bright, intelligent young men. Many of whom I still know and respect today. Your boys, partly because of who you've raised them to be, have chosen to be part of a culture that keeps their hair short. Still, many of whom I'm sure are wonderful young men. And as I mentioned, my little brother has chosen to be part of this soccer culture, which I'm sure is part of his influence for having longer hair. Each group has different individuals in it - some who are respectful and mature, others who may not be.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Just to clarify...

by short I don't necessarily mean military short (which my boys like and ask for), but out of his face and not like a girl's.

leah said...

I think I'm lucky with my boys' hair. THey have the type that looks like they stuck their finger in a light socket if it gets too long... so they'll probably always have short hair! Hahaha!

Anonymous said...

I will weigh in as the 'senior/already raised 3 boys Mom". I like shorter hair. That is what I like. However.... it is NOT the hair...it is the heart. The hair CAN be a 'picture' of the heart...but it can also have nothing to do with it. My son grew his hair out (after he left home) he was in utter rebellion. . . and his hair was a part of that. But I know of boys who had short short haircut and were in utter rebellion, too.
I think that when boys are being taught to be polite and look people in the eyes... the hair issue should be addressed..."your hair is too long and does not allow you to 'be/do' as you ought. NOT because it looks hidious (that is an opinion) but because it stops him from doing/being respectful. If it were 'easy' to decide a rebellious kid from an obedient one by their hair... well I guess that would make like sooo much easier. If your son can grow his hair AND be respectful ... or keep his hair short and show all kinds of contempt for any one in authority which would you chose? It is much more complicated than the length of his hair. My son KNEW how I felt... his rebellion went against anything "I deemed" right. It caused me to stop and consider just what was 'right' ...we both learned from that experience. Now he is 'back in the fold' and a new father...with all kinds of lofty ideas of his own on how to raise a godly son. It will be a learning experience for him, too.
Pray for your boys... that they will see Jesus...and that YOU will not get in their 'vision' of that. God is faithful ...even when we are not... how wonderful that truth is to me. As I look back on my life and see HIM doing a work inspite of all my mistakes.
This blog is thought provoking... and I pray that when all is said and done... the answer is Jesus!
Sincerely, Mrs. M

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Mrs. M,

so glad your son is "back in the fold", and a new father - congratulations!

Truly, as I said, the hair alone is not a guarantee of respect or godliness. Take skinheads for an example, yah?

However, I find it interesting how often long hair (in males) is linked with rebellion. Certainly the "hippie" culture is a prime example of that, and not one I'd encourage my boys to imitate.

One can befriend people without emulating them.

I've also observed a weird dynamic in the families of several of the long-haired boys, where the moms defend the boys' choice, saying the boys aren't "rebelling". But the dads HATE the long hair. So, really, they're not rebelling??? Now, ultimately, it's up to the dad to put his foot down if that's the way he feels. But don't the moms "get it"? He's not respecting his father!

Ironically, one of these boys finally cut his hair after his soccer coach made him put it up in a ponytail, because it was in his eyes during the games. Completely ridiculous. He looked like a GIRL.

Cutzi said...

Thank you, Mrs. M for your wise and experienced words. Scripture reiterates over and over again that the heart is what matters.

I think we need to be very careful about the way we perceive, think about and speak about people's appearances. Especially teens, if we desire to have any sort of relationship with them. Admittedly, all day today I kept thinking of clean-cut young jocksI knew who were some of the most wild and rebellious boys I've encountered. And of course, we can't leave out the buzz-cut neo-nazis...

Traci said...

Julie, I agree with you on this one. I do know heart is the most important and there are all cases of everything. One thing I see with the longer style hair on boys is boys doing it because "someone" else is doing it also. So really what is the reason to do what everyone else is doing. It just looks alot nicer, cleaner and they "look" more respectful. And they look like young men that we need to have more of in this society. Not all with short hair are this way and Im not talking about shaved heads either. Just clean cut. My 2 cents anyway.

Anonymous said...

Here is something to think about... I had two sons that rebelled...one grew his hair long the other didn't. They were both in utter rebellion. I have men friends at church... and some have a fuller (rather longish...shoulder length hair) and some have military haircuts. I can see no difference in their desire to serve the Lord.
IF your sons chose to rebel.. hair may play a part...or not. All I am saying is that the hair shouldn't be the focus... it may give you an idea of where his heart is..but that is all. What still must be addressed is his relationship with God. That is what is important. My son still jokes about growing his hair out..because while it was a rebellious thing he DID like it too...and he had beautiful hair...my daughter and I were jealous of his full curly hair... but his wife ...who also has beautiful hair says to him "I'll cut mine if you grow yours" It is all in fun. But at the same time I know my son knows that for him it was rebellion and so he doesn't grow it out.
Julie..you and I are very much alike.. I do not like to shop either. And I do not like long hair on boys..nor do I like boys OR girls who are disrespectful... but I know that it is a learning tool God uses for both parties..for one to see their need of him and for the other....to practice grace and become more Christlike in their heart and head.
I lasted 2.5 hours yesterday...I was proud of myself. But still have so much to do. We will make it!!