*This is not an exact science. This is simply my observation.
I have noticed an interesting trend in my school. We have some wild little boys. I also noticed some things about each of said students. None ever have a good hair cut or are well groomed.
Now what in the world does that have to do with education, Jason? Stick with me, I'm going somewhere with this.
When you go to the barber shop you're a captive audience of the barber and the barber shop atmosphere. For 30 minutes or more you're caught up in the latest talk from sports to politics. When I go into get my beard shaped up, I know I'm going to meet someone new, learn something new and hang with the guys. My wife loves to hear the tales from the shop. Matter of fact my barber and I are working on a writing project of his stories from behind the barber chair.
Back to the students. Having a mentor or someone caring that shows interest is powerful. To know that person isn't related to you, but likes you for you is extra special. Now imagine what that does for a little boy with or without a male figure in the home. Knowing that weekly or bi-monthly they're going to "check in" with their mentor has to have an impact on their time away from that mentor. Something has to be said about knowing that someone cares enough about how he presents himself to make sure he goes and gets a trim every now and then.
If someone takes the time to make sure you're groomed properly and is concerned about the way you look that same person may be interested in other parts of your up bringing. So either it's your parent taking you to get your hair cut or it's the barber talking to you while you're getting cut up, someone is talking to you from an adult/child, mentor/mentee relationship. It shows that they care and that he matters.
I've spoken at lengths that I think parents are the 1st teachers while people like myself are the back up and the ones to carry the student further. Most of the time when I see a little boy in the barber shop they are with an adult. Only when they get older do I see them dropped off. So they're there listening to adults talk, interacting with adults and seeing what they will one day become... an adult male.
The young boys I'm speaking about (I speak about my observations specifically, but please feel free to comment on your experiences) CAN'T get that one on one time with any male in order to help shape who they'll be and how they should conduct themselves. Without it they just go for what they know. And it's not a pretty site.
For years my dad cut my and my brother's hair in the garage Sunday evening before the school week started. He didn't do anything high tech, but he did make sure we looked presentable every Monday morning. Now the jury is surely out on whether it had a great impact in my behavior, but hey. I told you this wasn't a science. We always knew what my dad was about, what he beleived and what he stood for. We had a good idea of what we'd be like when we grew up from times like this with our dad.
By no stretch of the imagination is my dad perfect, but I will tell you he's a pretty neat guy. Now being a dad I appreciate what he wanted to do. He wanted to raise responsible young men that one day would be responsible for our own little world. I guess we've done well. I only have girls so I don't get to cut hair. My brother has a minor league team full of boys so he'll carry the weight for me.
It hit me when I started going to the barber shop, I've never had anyone cut my hair excpect for my dad, my brother or myself. I started going to a barber shop to get my beard done. I could shape it up at home or just cut it off all together, but I like the good conversation. I like to see and hear how others go about the same things I go through, being a man.
Back to my theory. Not even 300 yards from my school is a barber shop that I've been told gives free hair cuts to the boys of my school. I don't know the ins and outs of the process, but if it's a free hair cut and you have to wait for an hour in a situation where you wouldn't get a hair cut that's a good deal. Maybe I'll volunteer to walk my entire class to the shop one Saturday and sit in there. I guess I'll have to save up to give out tips like Christmas. But if it creates a "Someone cares enough about me, so I need to make some adjustments to my behavior" atmosphere that would be some well spent money.
I'm certainly not saying that every boy sans a tight fade is a hellion nor am I saying that every well groomed one is a Rhodes Scholar. What I am proposing is that the lack of male influence in a particular aspect of society might be the reason for the behavior we all know of. There has to be some value to the interaction between a boy and his male counterparts. The influence of said male can't be over looked even in the grooming area. If it were of NO value to my thought I'm sure you'll let me know.
My theory comes from an idea that one overlooked problem, if fixed could cause such a tidal shift that many of the other more "pressing" issues would be swept away in it's wake. With the big push for school uniforms there has to be some value to see being a well groomed young man.
Let me know what you think.
Day 10 of Crossfit challenge and I'm about 80% healed and ready to bring it. Can't wait to show the finished product.