Hair. It is the topic of musicals, the premise of jokes, and big business for many. Hair has to be cut, clipped, and curled. It is made into wigs, washed, and woven. Hair tells your age, says where you are from, and what your cultural ties are.
But what hair doesn’t say is what you are on the inside.
I don’t like long hair on males. It is probably a cultural thing for me. Where I grew up men did not have long hair. So when I see men with long hair, I identify them as feminine. I know logically that it isn’t true, but my past still speaks loudly.
I like hair that doesn’t draw attention to itself. It should be clean and kempt, shining with good health, but it should not scream, “Look at me!” My sons do not hold the same beliefs.
The older son has beautiful, soft and bouncy brown hair. When he was about fifteen he played a character from the early 1800s. He was in a local theater troupe and so I allowed him to have longer hair for the part. The only problem was that he didn’t want to cut the hair afterward. It wasn’t until he discovered that local employers have similar ideas about hair as his mother that he agreed to cut it.
The issue of length was solved, but the issue of color was just starting. He wanted blue hair, yes blue. And I, his mother who loved his beautiful, brown bouncy hair, agreed to color it blue – on more than one occasion. We never stripped the hair, so the blue came out sort of like a dark navy, and I tried to imagine he was Asian with really, really black hair. It was ok; I survived.
The second son has luxurious, curly blond hair. When he was little he was what you call a tow-head. Now it has turned a darker blond, almost brown. He wants it to be black. I guess it is better than blue, but I miss my sweet blond boy who looked like his mama. I agreed to color it black, but I made lots of comments about how ugly it is and I hurt his feelings.
Then the older son came home from college for Thanksgiving and he had red hair; not an auburn or carrot-top red, but Solo-cup red! I told him he looked like Raggedy Andy. I don’t think he knew who that is.
I asked what professors at his conservative Christian college said about his hair and the response was negative; no big surprise there. They have the same past as I do: hair should not draw attention to itself.
But what I wonder is if the professors, the employers, even the family members are able to look at my walking Solo cup commercial and see a giant of a kid who wanted to help heart patients.
You see, when he was working at a local restaurant there was a fund drive to raise money for kids who are heart patients. He bought brownie mix with his own money, baked the brownies, and then sold them at the restaurant to make money for the kids. Then he challenged the other workers to help with the bake sale. They offered to help IF he would color his hair whatever color they said. He agreed and last fall, while he was away at school, the other employees, after raising all the funds, called him on it.
I still don’t like men with long hair, and I really wish my kids would keep the hair color God bestowed upon them, but what I really LOVE about my kids is that they are so much more than hair. I will try to remember that as I color that blond hair black again.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the HEART.” 1 Samuel 16:7