This personal essay, from one of our readers, describes how a mother learns from her daughter’s self confidence and subsequently vows to educate herself on how to best care for her child’s hair.
We live in a time that has constantly been referred to as the Information Age. Why? Because never before has information been so readily accessible. With just one click of a mouse we can learn about almost anything and thanks to social media we can now learn of the latest trends at lightening speed.
One trend that has been growing at a remarkable rate is the Black Hair Movement, I say black hair movement because whether we’re natural or relaxed, we, as African American women know more about our hair then ever before, and dare I say that a few of us know more than a lot of the hairdressers out there!
So with the birth of these new movements Natural and so forth, I often ask myself am I still teaching my daughters the right thing, and what kind of messages are they taking in from me and others?
I will never forget the day my eldest daughter walked into the kitchen and told me that a child in her class tried to put her down because her hair wasn’t “straight.”
“How did that make you feel, Muffin?” I asked her.
“I don’t believe anything she says Mommy, so I told her just that!” She said with confidence “I love my hair, it’s mine, and it’s an important part of me”.
I paused for a short moment, because not only does my child never cease to amaze me, but I remember my own experiences with hair and mean “non-black” children, and I knew for a fact had that been me, I would have folded. I would have burst into tears. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, a little outlandish, and you’re correct. As a child I had long beautiful hair until I was 6 years of age and my mother decided that my hair should look just like those girls on the boxes of a certain kiddie perm. Needless to stay I instantly went bold that day, and since then my hair has never been the same.
“Mom,” she started, “but what I don’t understand is why is it that all the girls in my school who look like me (they are currently only 3) and have hair like me but don’t have long hair! Are we born this way until we get a weave?” After sitting her down and going through the importance of her standing up for herself and loving and accepting ourselves no matter what anyone says or thinks, I began to explore her comments more deeply.
What is it about our community that makes naturally long hair such a scarce yet valuable commodity? What message are we really teaching our children? How does it compare to what we’ve been taught? I sat down for nights on end, researching black hair, both my children and myself have different hair types, and being able to access the wealth of information available has been a very humbling experience that I now share with my daughter. I have made them a promise to do everything I can to help and to teach her how to maintain, retain and love her mane!
” To answer your question,” I said to her, “the thing that’s special about your hair is that it is in fact your hair and while it is very different, it’s special and just like everything else about your life and your destiny you have the ability to make it or break it, literally. I can’t speak for anyone’s child, but I promise for the next 12 months, we are going to learn how to grow your hair, so when you’re a grown up, you can have the option of a weave if you’d like but it will not be your last resort if you want longer hair”.
Have you ever had similar experience with your own child(ren)? What values did you pick up about your own hair as a child? Are you part of the “I got a perm before my period” club?
TrishCheck out this author’s Twitter page at https://twitter.com/#!/honeycurlstv and interact with her about your hair issues.
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