More Than A Haircut


Hold up your head! You were not made for failure, you were made for victory. Go forward with joyful confidence.

George Eliot

For the past two years we have held a 21st Century Respect Event. Numerous folks have volunteered their time to teach us about such topics as respecting our environment, respecting our digital footprint and respecting our bodies. This year I was able to join a student in a fun and rigorous workout that reminded me that I have much work to do.

While each of the sessions taught me something, for the past two years, one session in particular has captured my attention like none other. Both years I have finished the evening at the barber station. At this station several lucky young men get to receive a haircut from a local barber. A local barber who has donated their time and energy after having cut hair all day.

This year our event ran from 5:30-7 PM. But barbers were cutting hair until almost 8:30 PM. The parking lot was nearly empty and I’d be willing to bet that many of the students that attended the event were already tucked away in bed. But not Barber Buff, Slick Styles and Shawn Schoolfield. They were still buzzing and clipping away. I remember last year Jonas Flycuts Rosser Sr. was cutting hair long after everyone had left. And I am certain he would have been this year if I had just remembered to ask him in time. My bad.

As I mentioned, the event officially ended at 7:30 but it was what took place in that last hour that I will remember most. It wasn’t about race. It wasn’t about income and it wasn’t about popularity. Plain and simple, it was about kids. It was about these men taking the time, and the care and the precision to see that each young man that sat down in their chair, walked out feeling good about himself.

It would have been easy for these men to rush and in doing so they probably would have been able to offer a few more haircuts. But these men were artists. Artists who care very much about their craft. More importantly, artists who care very much about each kid that sat down in their chair. And I promise you it showed. The smiles on each young man’s face when he looked in the mirror for the first time afterwards were priceless!

I really wish you could have been there to feel the vibe, the energy in the room. Mom’s watching as their son’s were being transformed, younger sisters playing and waiting patiently and the rest of us simply taking in the room. Devon Beck, our Family & Student Liaison, was casually walking around sweeping up hair and cracking jokes all the while. I took the broom and pan for a bit, but lost my focus and soon had to give them back to Devon. You I got a ribbing for that.

I wish I could have captured what was going in that room, actually it was a stage converted into a room, and bottled it up. Because it was real. Because it was fellowship. And because it was all about the kids.

Maybe next year I’ll try to videotape the room or set up a live feed. Then again, I think you would need to be in the room to get the full effect. At least I did.

Thank you gentleman for helping our young men hold their heads a little but higher. It meant the world to them.



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