My oldest teenage son came to me at the beginning of the summer proclaiming, “I want a Mohawk.” I am sure that he was waiting expectantly for the list of reasons that he would not be able to have something so radical done to his hair. The reasons I would stand in the way of his hair-razing scheme. A defiant and unwavering no was certainly the response he waited for.
But that is not what happened.
I looked at him and declared it a great idea and immediately made an appointment to have our favorite hairstylist cut his hair as soon as possible. I am not sure who was more excited by it: Brandon or myself. I sat in the chair beside him as I saw layer after layer of hair fall to the ground. I was giddy to see the results. I took pictures and documented each step (as all good blogging moms are known to do) and tried to act cool, though I felt as if I was the one doing such a radical act.
The truth? I loved that he was so secure with who he was, and how he saw himself. That he knew he could pull off a Mohawk and not be embarrassed of feel self-conscious about it.
When it comes to teens, the fact of the matter is they are searching for who they are. They are trying to figure out where they belong among the maze of changes, hormones, and new responsibilities in life. They will find a way to stand out. They will find a way to be their own person and not just be one many in the crowd. At least that is what I always want for my children. I want them to find their own way in the midst of all of the various voices telling them what to do, who they are, and how they should behave.
For my son to want to express himself through a simple hairstyle, I consider myself lucky. It could be something permanent or something that could endanger him. But no. Not my son. He wanted to sport a Mohawk. So, I sat back and let him express himself in this fun and safe way.
It was more than a hairstyle. It was a trust and confidence issue. He realized that I trust him enough to make decisions about who he is, and that I will stand behind him when he is safe. I realized that my son has way more confidence in himself that I ever did at his age. Together we learned that we are a team.
It is not him against me. It is the two of us against the world that threatens every teenager that walks the halls of every high school. Maybe, just maybe, the simplicity of a Mohawk strengthened the bond between my son and me. I can let go just a bit, trusting who he is becoming; and he can come to me with anything, even if he thinks he will freak me out with it.