The boy with the blue hair…

Last night we attended our son’s choir concert.  When his choir took the stage, one of the first things I noticed was the young man with the blue hair.

Twenty-six years of experience in mothering does something for your perspective in parenting.  Years ago, I would have looked at the boy with the blue hair and would have thought, “There’s a young man looking for his identity,” or “That young man is trying to figure out a way to be an individual.”

Last night, however, I had a completely different thought.

You know what I saw?

I saw a young man with very secure parents.

In our home we’ve been through colored hair, mohawks (on our daughter…not our boys!) piercings, and once they were in college—tattoos.  I’ll admit that with our older kids, I didn’t always handle those “individuality experiments” very well.  And the truth is, it was all about my insecurity. I mean…what will people think?

Part of growing up is figuring out the world and how you fit into the world.  Some kids will do that subtlety and some will jump in with both feet…or blue hair.

Your kid’s appearance does not define you as a mother.  Let them be themselves.  Let them figure out how they fit into this world.

Someday you’ll look back on this season and realize that in the big scheme of things, hair color, style, and other ways of expressing individuality were just a blip on the screen.

And not only that…you’ll have some great pictures for their wedding reception someday!

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17 Responses to The boy with the blue hair…

  1. Mandy says:

    Thanks for this! As someone who is married to a pierced rocker, who has had an 8 inch, blue-tipped mohawk, and now has a 5 year old with a mohawk, I can identify. 😉 I have learned that I need to be concerned with the condition of their little (& big!) hearts and that these temporary things don’t define them or me. And you’re right about the pictures~ I have a huge arsenal for later!

  2. Cindy Grouss says:

    Well said. I like to think that I let my kids make their own choices, within reason of course. Every once in a while one of them chooses something that causes me to think, what will the teachers or other parents think of ME? Then I come across “The boy with the blue hair…” and I’m reminded yet AGAIN that oh yeah, its NOT about me, right. Say it again, its not about me!
    Thanks Jill!

  3. Yvonne says:

    I’m one of those insecure moms. And let me tell you it is a struggle to let some of these things go, but I really am working on it!

  4. Barb Wall says:

    Dear Jill–Thanks –I am still struggling with my daughter and her 6 tattos-She is my middle child and has been really acting up since her Daddy died 8 years ago. I start my prayers each day with her at the top of my list. Thanks and many blessings, Barb

  5. c says:

    After asking her asking for nearly a year, I finally gave in to my 12 year old daughter. My very responsible, rule following, straight A student wanted to dye the bottom 2 inches of her hair magenta. I thought it would pass. I told her she’d have to cover half of the cost. I thought it would pass. Instead, she promptly worked harder to save more money. The first day of school she had magenta tips on her long brown hair and she was thrilled. My friends and neighbors view me as strict and are still surprised I let her dye her hair. I told them it is really not a big deal. It really isn’t. I should have given in 11 months ago because, actually… I kind of like it!

  6. Cheri-Beri says:

    Wonderful blog, Jill. Wonderful!!!

  7. Tracy Gregory says:

    I know I’m a good Mom and I love and nurture my children well. The thing I have a hard time with is the extended family that drops little comments about how they would never have let their kid do that (my son likes his hair ‘fluffy’. It curls and poofs when he lets it grow). I hate feeling judged by them! It doesn’t cause me to parent any differently – I just hope that some day they can be as secure in the job they did raising their children as I am in mine.

    Thank you for the encouragement Jill. Well said!

  8. lisa simmons says:

    Unfortunately, people do judge us by the outside (while God looks at the heart) and that will cause some to think twice about listening to their testimony…instead they think they are seeing their testimony. Yes, it’s unfortunate and we all want to be known by our hearts, but we’re just putting more obstacles up by following a system that says, “do whacha wanna do…be whacha wanna be”. I’m afraid that the opposite may be true as well, Jill. The parents who allow their children to totally make their own choices in dress, style, etc could be insecure as well. They’re afraid of losing the “friendship” with their children…afraid of being called the “uncool” parent. I didn’t like it either. But I was somehow able to convey to my kids that there are appropriate and acceptable ways of dressing (that includes modesty). Did I get backlash? Yes, sometimes. But with some compromise and lots of grace talk, we seemed to have worked it all out. My oldest son is 30, married, one child…no piercings, tattos or foreign objects protruding from his eyebrows, lips or cheeks…Same goes for my 26 year old son who is single. Now my daughter…well, she just rebelled and got her ears double piereced…YIKES… Oh well… can’t win them all…haha. She is almost 20 and a sophomore in college. I think it’s OK to have standards for your family. I believe we can do that without being dictators and/or legalistic.

    • JillSavage says:

      Lisa, I completely agree. Today’s post isn’t so much about not having standards, but rather about learning what hills are really worth dying on. Every family has to determine that for themselves, but we just need to be careful about making a battle out of too many things.

  9. Leslie McCarthy says:

    Jill, Thank you so much for the your post. My daughter follows your postings and passed this along to us. We have always lived our life and parented our children to be happy with who they are and allowed them creativity. Dont get me wrong, there are definitely limits and we are first and foremost parents, not friends, or concerned with being cool. However, as you said, we do pick and choose our battles. Our son was Batman from ages three to five, he would bring me his cape and cowl every morning, and say mama, I am ready to turn into Batman now. He has become a very confidant young man over the past nine years. We left the house the other day in a hurry and he had his house slippers on, he was so concerned that he looked silly. I said, I find it so funny that you are concerned about what people will think because you have your slippers on at the store, but you have no worries that you have blue hair. He said to me last night, after coming home from his choir concert, I love my hair, it makes me very HAPPY! That, to me, is a battle worth losing. As you might have guessed, the boy with the blue hair is our son. Thank you again for your words of encouragement, Parents of the Boy with the blue hair……..

    • JillSavage says:

      Leslie,

      I’m so glad you found the post! How fun! Great job parenting…and thank you for giving us an example of how to not make mountains out of molehills.

  10. Tammy Maltby says:

    Fantastic insight Jill. Such freedom this brings.

  11. Jennifer says:

    I’m going to stand on the other side of the fence on this one. While your children are not adults and in your care, their actions (or lack of actions) speak volumes on your parenting and what is going on in your household. I picked up Dr. James Dobson book Bring Up Boys at the Hearts at Home conference (its a amazing book) he states to encourage our boys to become strong men we need to give them a strong identity. Exposing your children to a pop culture of off color hair, inappropriate piercing, and lifestyle; then allowing them to feed into a culture, is not giving them a clear sense of identity. Nor is it putting them on the path towards God and giving them a strong identity to become God fearing men.

    • JillSavage says:

      Jennifer,

      Thanks for disagreeing respectfully. I really appreciate that (as you can imagine, sometimes people don’t disagree respectfully!) Are you aware of the fact that Dr. Dobson’s son has tattoos and piercings? I’ve personally met him. He’s a great guy who loves Jesus.

      I agree with giving them a strong identity…absolutely…but allowing them to express themselves with different color hair doesn’t hurt their identity in Christ. They need to know how God loves them and how we love them…unconditionally. They need a strong family identity so they know where they belong and don’t look for “belonging” in the wrong places. And they need to know that God is more concerned about the condition of their heart more than anything else.

      We allowed ears pierced and hair color up until 18. If they wanted anything more than that, they had to be 18 and pay for it themselves. The most important thing for us to be concerned about is the condition of their heart…and outward appearance doesn’t always indicate condition of their heart anymore than our outward appearance indicates our condition of our heart (I know some pretty put together adults who look great on the outside…their hair color is appropriate…they have no tattoos or piercings…but their heart is as hard as a rock. I would bet you know some, too!) It works both ways.

  12. CC says:

    While I do agree that kids need to develop their own identities, I dont think that coloring their hair or getting pierced is the way to do it. I took one of my girls to Walmart many times dressed as a yellow Care Bear, so Im not against kids being kids.
    I draw the line when they are older and their statement becomes more of a distraction. You didnt notice the boy with the blue hair. You noticed blue hair.
    Can this young man go to a job interview with blue hair and be hired? Not in a professional environment. Does this mean that the employer has stripped him of his individuality? No. They have asked him to groom himself appropriately so that he can represent the company he works for.
    Parents can encourage their kids to be individuals by allowing the personality on the inside to come out. I want my girls to be comfortable with who they are and not feel the need to color their hair or get pierced to get noticed.