I took the boys to get a haircut yesterday.  There is a Hair Cutter near where we go for Tae Kwon Do and we have had decent success there in the past.  The Analyzer, my oldest, was still in good shape from a cut a couple of weeks ago but Sir Talks-A-Lot needed a trim and I figured since I was there I would get cleaned up too.

We’ve come to know the ladies at this location and I knew I was in for a bit of a challenge when Sir Talks-A-Lot was taken back by an older lady that we have had before.  She is a no-nonsense kind of lady who I am sure raised her kids with an iron fist and has little patience for whining or squirming.  Unfortunately, Sir Talks-A-Lot does not like haircuts nearly as much as his brother and thus whines and squirms in the chair throughout.  Haircut lady took a firm stance, stating that if he did not stop moving he would not be able to get his hair cut- an offer I figured he would gladly take her up on.  Her patience with him seemed less than his with her.

The lesson I realized out of this as I bit my tongue not to tell her to lighten up was that patience given is needed for patience received.  You can’t expect a 6 year old to be patient if you are not willing to be patient with them.  Kind of the Golden Rule in a way.  A necessity to find common ground.  They finally seemed to find it and the haircut was completed but not without more back and forth, some louder whining about the clippers hurting his neck and her turning to me with a look in her eye and a statement “That’s the best I can do with him”.  Needless to say, next time we wait for someone else.

The other lesson was with my haircut.  Mine was with a different cutter, sorry, stylist.  She was pretty easy going and I think she is the manager there.  The problem was I had been wearing a hat (Steelers hat to support the team as the embark on the playoff game against Baltimore).  My hair was matted down and thus she could not really tell how I wore it, what side it was parted on, etc.  She asked how I wanted it cut, I told her cleaned up a bit with a #2 guard on the sides and she went to work.  When done, I looked like I was in the military.

What I realized is that if you don’t tell someone what you want with some degree of specifics then you have to live with what they give you, even if it is not what you really wanted.  This is a lesson learned years ago at work with development projects- don’t expect someone to build something the way you have it in your mind unless you can explain it to them.  This also applies to the kids- give clear, well defined and reasonable directions if you expect specific results.  Otherwise, don’t be upset if the outcome differs from what you had in mind.  This may be anything from “cleaning” a room, putting something together or doing chores.  If the expected outcome is not explained in an understandable manner then it is up to the translation and more importantly (and perhaps dangerous) creativity of the doer.

Who knew a haircut could be so enlightening?