Friday, October 29, 2010

school search - part VI

There is a hair cutting school in my neighborhood where you can get walk-in five-dollar cuts. It's a good deal, if students with scissors don't make you too nervous and if you have some extra time (cuz these cats are trying to get it right...). I took Isaac there to get the hair off his ears and out of his eyes.

While waiting in the reception area, the young man who would be our hair dresser for the day approached and introduced himself. Before he could lead us to the hair chair, however, a woman stopped him to ask for his urgent help. The dryer her mother was sitting under was too hot and was beginning to scorch her scalp. The man turned down the heat dial and confirmed with the customer that the new temperature was good for her. Before leaving them, he addressed the daughter. “If it heats up too much again, just turn this dial to a lower number,” he said, pointing out the huge white markings on the chair's controls affixed in plain sight. “Oh,” replied the woman, as if this were new and strange technology she wouldn't dare have thought to tamper with. “Okay.”

Now, nothin for nothin people, and with all due respect for the 10 months these hair folks spend studying how to give perms and fool your friends with extensions, did that woman seriously not think it was within her own power to turn down the heat? Did she never investigate? Did the mother never consider removing her head from the assaulting burn? Are we so helpless as a species? Such obedient sheep to follow along until we are in physical danger or worse? Such rule followers as to be completely out of touch with our own instincts?

I have two major concerns about public schools and they have nothing to do with academics. The first is demonstrated above. We think that “discipline” issues are bad in schools, but consider this blog to weigh in on the problem of obedience, the lost art of free thinking.

So, Isaac gets his booster seat and settles in for an hour-long cut. (Don't try this at home folks!) The poor thing was having to pull out every little bit of hard-earned Montessori concentration to sit there in the chair. I wasn't any less fidgety since I was pretty certain I was going to die of bad pop music while there and kept swiveling this way and that hoping to find the radio switch to smash.

Of course, we did have plenty of time for conversation, the young man and I at least, since Isaac was refusing to speak. During that time I made sure to point out to my son his hair dresser's Barbie pink fingernails.

Isaac has been very influenced by a couple friends, who don't even live in the area anymore, but whose rigid ideas of gender they managed to pass on quite successfully on some level to my son.

(“I'm not going to have an earring when I grow up. I'm going to be a real boy!” he once said to me. Images of Pinocchio in a sterling earcuff float through my mind. WTF??)

I learned that hair dresser guy, had a Halloween party for his birthday every year, since it fell at the end of October and that this year he was going to be a pirate. I also learned that he was graduating next month. And finally, I learned that he was born and raised in Salinas, which caused me to have to stop myself from grabbing his arm, the one with the black rubber bracelet that said “Vanity,” and blurting out, “Oh my god! That must have been terrible for you!” Salinas, California, known as it is for its associations with Steinbeck, big agriculture, and gang violence, isn't quite as note-worthy in its general ideas of tolerance.

Which brings me to problem number two in the public schools: a lack of emphasis on compassionate social interaction and integration.

I mean, let's face it people. We are at war. What do we have to teach our kids about empathy or cooperation? Gee, can't imagine why bullying is a problem...

I'm planning on going as my worst nightmare for Halloween this year: a soccer mom. “Are you gonna scream a lot?” my friend asked me, “Because you need to scream a lot.” (Capri Sun, anyone? Pictures to follow.) While I went searching for a blonde bob wig in the drug store the other day to round out my costume, my gentle, loving son battled an invisible victim with a bloody plastic hatchet, behavior I find all the more disturbing since the kid's only ever watched a few hours of television in his life and most of that consisted of Dinosaur Train and the Olympics. You might find it odd that I connect fumbling foreign policies, youth sports teams, dumby weaponry and the absence of kindness, and if so, then, I still have more convincing to do. Later. Just how I like to think about where to send Isaac to school next year. Later.

1 comment:

Dianne said...

hey kiddo!!
I could just come live there and be his governess/teacher

I'm impressed that Isaac sat for an hour, I have a bad time being that patient

Share Related Posts with Thumbnails