Parenting, Social Justice

My Son’s Hair

There is nothing more interesting than watching an adult squirm uncomfortably around a little boy with hair below his years.

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I’m not sure when or how it happened, but sometime over the last year Myles decided that he wants to grow his hair long. Maybe because we are terrible at keeping hair cut schedules around here that my seven year old decided to just go with it and embrace the hair over his eyes. It really has been a non-event. He’s happy. We’re happy. It just hasn’t been that big of a deal.

But once it started to creep over his ears and lay across his forehead I was astonished at the amount of attention he started to get over it.

“When are you going to cut your hair?”
“Isn’t he going to get hot?!”
“But, Myles, it flips out like a girl’s!”

I was initially worried that kids at school would poke fun at him. But that hasn’t been the case. All of the comments and concerns have come from people over 30. And it’s almost always a comment or concern about his gender. That shouldn’t be surprising but isn’t it interesting?  I really do love this youngest generation of children. I love watching them grow up around adults who are struggling to understand the fluidity of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Many of the children that I come into contact with really do seem to have a better time understanding and expressing their gender and race in non-conforming ways than a lot of adults. I’d like to think that we can give credit to the adults who have worked hard to present the world in ways that challenge expressions of gender and race. Of course, my experience is just a small little piece of the world. Our little bubble here in Norfolk. My hope is to help free my children from a lot of our culture’s pressures to conform and give them grace upon grace.

To your relief and my surprise, I really don’t have much else to say about it beyond that. Maybe I just don’t care much what other people think about my son’s hair and I try to instill that into my kids. “If you want your hair long, grow it,” I tell him. “If it gets hot, we’ll pull it back with a hair tie.” I say. And then we crack a few jokes about the people who are so worried about his hair, as if there isn’t more to care about in this world.

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