When my kids were little, and I was still idealistic, one of our neighbors had teenagers. I was shocked that she had let her sons wear their hair so crazy--colors, length, etc. (Keep in mind that we are military, and were living on an Army base where kids' hair is usually kept to military standards. :)
She said some wise words that have stuck with me over the years--Hair is not a moral issue....the heart is.
Wow. She and I went on to have a discussion about how to discover if the hairstyle (color, length, etc) is being influenced by a heart issue (rebellion, specifically) or just a normal teenage desire to try new things, fit in, etc.
I have "pondered these words in my heart" for several years. And beginning last year (7th grade), I finally had a chance to put feet to those words. #1 decided he wanted to grow his hair out. Some would say it was to be like Justin Bieber....no. It's not about being like J.B., but it is about fitting in, being noticed, wanting to look different than you did in elementary school.
Those wise words were so helpful to hubs and I as we waited patiently and supported #1 with haircuts that were "trims", just to adjust the shape and finetune the evolving style. I was so proud of my husband for being willing to stick this one out.
Last week, #1 made the middle school soccer team. When he saw the final list online, he first went to facebook and posted it...but THEN he came into the kitchen and annouced that he wanted to get a haircut...a real haircut. He said the hair gets in his way when he is trying to play soccer. When hubs got home, I relayed the message as calmly as I could, while inside I was grinning from ear to ear that our child had just made a huge decision all on his own. :)
We took him to get his haircut and hubs and I stood there watching as all 6 or 7 inches of hair fell to the floor. I was so proud. Proud of him making the team. Proud of him making the decision on his own to get a haircut. Proud of his dad for not needling his decision or telling him "I told you so". Proud that #1 is open enough with us to feel like he can change his mind and try new things without us berating him or belittling him. Just plain proud.
So...here's the before: