So quick question, answer it as quickly as possible (in your head is fine):
Is it ok to send your child to school with pink or blue spray streaks in their hair?
Got your initial answer? Now think about it. Was your initial answer based on what others have told you was ok? Or was your answer something that you feel strongly about?
This exact question was a daunting one for me, and for Dana as well. I admit that my first answer to my question, is not the same as it is now. A few months ago my mom gave Kaia a can of pink hairspray. I admit right now, my first reaction was, "Oh no, she didn't..." The "mom" in me was cringing. It wasn't ok to put pink spray in my 7 year old's hair.
A few days later, the "me" in me grabbed the mom in a choke hold and called her a big hypocrite that had somehow lost touch with her own ideas. Somehow the "mom" in me was listening to what society might think, or what other parents might think, rather than what I might think. And it's true. Prior to Kaia starting school I looked at all the local options. First off, I'm a huge proponent of public schools. I strongly believe that while they may be underfunded, the teachers are there not for the great pay and benefits (which they don't have) but because they have a passion for the next generation. So I was ready to put Kaia into our local public school, but was concerned about child care before and after, and felt it would be best to look at all of our options. The problem was, every single private school whether Catholic, Christian or Seventh Day Adventist all had a student handbook. And every student handbook had some rule about the length of hair for boys, and color of hair for boys and girls. There were also rules on nail polish use, the banning of use by boys. Most also had policy on clothing and it wasn't just about modest clothing. With each rule I became upset.
Dana and I are the parents of our kids. If Dana and I are ok with our boys having long hair or painting their nails, I don't want a school telling us it's inappropriate. If Dana and I allow Kaia to dye her hair purple and spike it, then it is our decision, And if our kids want to wear jeans with holes in the knees, and sneakers that are falling apart as part of their self-expression, then so be it. We draw the line when clothing is immodest, or when the alteration is permanent like a tattoo or piercing, or last if the self-expression is actually rebellion that comes with attitude. But most of all we don't need a school telling us what is acceptable for our children.
I have heard the arguments that rules in school prep our kids for rules at work, and I'm fine if you feel that way. I strongly feel that childhood and adolescent years are for figuring out who you are, and if you are too busy trying to fit into someone else's box of what is acceptable, how can you do that?
Sure my initial reaction was very anti-pink hair, but this morning I sprayed 2 pink stripes into Kaia's hair, just like I did a few days ago. Pink hair doesn't hurt anyone.
I'm definitely going to start doing a check on myself when I have gut reactions to things. Too often, my initial reaction is not my own. Have you spotted any areas in your life where you are listening to others rather than listening to yourself?