My son just left to get his hair cut. It’s a big deal for him, not exactly as big a deal as it was for Samson – but close enough for this non-biblical tale. For the last year or so – with varying degrees of enthusiasm – he has been trying to get a part-time job in this relatively small town. There isn’t much out there and until a month or so ago his prospects were looking pretty bleak. But it seemed that he had finally landed something at a local pizza chain and went in last week as planned to fill out the required paperwork – only to be told, “Come back next week and in the meantime – get your hair cut.” And so, reluctantly he trod off to hair salon with old photo of a younger, shorter “tressed” version of himself in hand as a guide.
My son – “has my hair”. Not literally of course I have plenty of my own – but genetically he seems to have gotten the thick, curly locks of his Italian-American mother, and though it is not as long as it was a year ago, he doesn’t wear it short. And it suits him. He is a good kid, who likes to think of himself as a free-thinking, non-conformist – and his hair was such a notable characteristic in his overall look – that there is probably not another physical change in his appearance that would have as big an impact. So cutting his hair is really not something he wants to do – and yet he is accepting it as a necessary trade-off in getting a job, which clearly he wanted and needed even more. It’s one of those “life lessons” he likely will not forget.
In order to make our way out in the “real world” there will be a lot of compromises along the way. Sometimes we choose to go along with what is asked of us, and sometimes we do not. The trick is knowing who you are, what is important to you and what you are willing to give up or not. Learning to negotiate the compromise is something that we need to master on some level as we face the responsibilities of living life in this world. I will miss my son’s longish locks, but I am proud of the young man who made the decision to get them cut in order to move forward. He can grow his hair again one day if that’s what he wants to do – and the growth he will get from this experience is just one step out into the big world that will require a lot more from him some day.