I was in the barber shop this morning getting my new year cut, and as usual, I had the opportunity to engage in some lively debate, this time around the topic of fathers and daughters. It all started when a young lady,19 years old, came into the shop for a shape up. While she was waiting, she started to discuss how she was getting ready to get her second tatoo. She’s grown, she can do what she wants to do right? That basically became the point of the entire debate, back and forth between my barber and this young lady (a close family friend who he’s known since she was young). What’s interesting is that I have two young daughters, and my barber is about to become a new dad to twin girls himself in about a month, so this conversation was particularly interesting for the both of us.
We sat there for about an hour listening to her explain how because of her challenges in life (growing up with grandma, moving to a new city away from her family, her own father not being really there for her while growing up), she’s basically developed a sense of independence that has forced her to take care of herself (and make plenty of mistakes) along the way. Don’t get me wrong, despite her tales of drinking at 13 and skipping school, and the jaw dropping conversation she had with her mother when she was 16 about all the stuff she’d gotten into that her mom couldn’t even fathom, this young lady seems to have her head on straight now. Forget the tatoo, that was just the starting point for our dialogue. The best piece of advice she gave both of us was, stay active. Seriously, she told us that the fact that her own dad didn’t even know what was going on her life, basically disqualified him from saying anything to her about it (at least, that’s how she felt).
I looked at Mo and basically told him…that’s our future. When I left, I told the young lady that this had been a very educational conversation, and it was. Stay active. Don’t drop the ball by disengaging. It struck me while we were in the shop listening to her share so freely, I wonder how often her own father had taken the opportunity to do so? There are plenty of times when I’d rather be doing anything else than playing tea-party with Olivia or getting a check-up from Doc Mc-Riley, but I grin and enjoy it. And I know it’ll only get more interesting as they get older. Man, I want them to be able to come to me about anything, and I don’t want them to feel like I don’t know them (or worse, that they’ve had to hide stuff from me). Don’t get me wrong, perhaps I don’t want to know everything, lol. But I’d love the pleasure of getting to know who they are as they grow into the people they are becoming. Staying active.