Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Hair Incident ... and What I Learned

Hi Friends,

Well, it's happened again.  Seems to be a tradition in the Schalesky household that when you turn 3 1/2 to 4 years old you simply must find a pair of hidden scissors (this time, left out by older sister ... the same sister who was our very first perpetrator) and cut your own hair.  Here's Jayden with his Mommy-fixed-after-he-cut-it-himself hair.  I must say, the fix is so much easier for boys!  

Meanwhile, however, I've been reminded of what I learned the first time this happened in our household ... when Bethany was just four and she found a pair of scissors.  It happened like this:

The Hair Incident
The silence should have warned me. My loud, rambunctious 4-year-old sitting quietly on the floor playing? Something wasn’t right. But I ignored the signs and kept working at my computer.

I discovered my mistake a few minutes later when Bethany peeked around the corner of my desk. “Hi Mommy.”

I stopped typing and glanced around. “Hi sweet--” The words died on my lips. A hunk of hair five inches shorter than the rest swung from her shoulder. “WHAT did you do?!”

Bethany’s eyes rounded.

I drew a deep breath and lowered myself back into my chair. “Come here.”

Bethany edged around the corner.

I raised my hand and waggled my fingers.

Slowly, she lifted her arm. A pair of blunt-nosed scissors hung from her fingertips.

For a moment I looked into her eyes, now pooling with unshed tears. Then, I sighed and pulled her onto my lap. “Oh Bethany, you know better than to take the scissors to your hair.” I ran my hands over her once-beautiful, long curls. Strands of blond came loose in my fingers, revealing three missing chunks.

“But I wanted . . .”

“It doesn’t matter what you wanted.”

Her lip quivered. “I didn’t know.”

My eyebrows shot up.

Bethany looked away. Her voice wavered. “You never said I shouldn’t.”

I cleared my throat. “Well, there’s nothing we can do about it now.”

“You can’t fix it?” Big tears slipped down her cheek. A few seconds more, and I’d be crying too. But instead, I gathered her up, took her into her room, and laid her down for a nap. Then, I returned to the scene of the crime.

I surveyed the floor where she’d been playing, then the chair, and the toy trunk. Nothing. No sign of hair. I frowned and got down on my hands and knees. Nothing under the chair, or the rug. My eyes swept to the inch and a half gap between the floor and the bottom of the trunk. Ah, there they were.

I reached beneath and pulled out three long chunks of hair. Then, I sat cross-legged on the floor and twirled the strands around my finger. She didn’t know, huh? Didn’t realize that cutting her hair was wrong? Then why hide the evidence? Why so carefully tuck it beneath the trunk?

In one way, she was right. I hadn’t specifically told her not to cut her hair. But I had told her the scissors were only for paper, and she could use them only when Mommy was helping her.

I stood and laid the hairs flat on my desk. The golden strands glowed in the light. Bethany had lost something valuable, something beautiful today, not because she didn’t know better, but because, in the end, “want” overcame wisdom. I know, because sometimes I do the same thing.

In Jeremiah 31:33 (NIV) God said of Israel, "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” What that tells me is that as I study God’s Word I learn more than just the words on the page. I learn to see the things of life as God sees them, to think, feel, and understand at a deeper level. And yet sometimes it seems easier to silence the voice of truth within and make excuses or justifications to get what I want. A little lie won’t matter, I may tell myself. No one will know. It doesn’t matter. God hasn’t specifically said that I shouldn’t. And so I snip away at the golden hairs and stuff them carefully away so no one will see. Is that how I want to live? No way!

So, later, as I placed Bethany’s hair in a baggie for her baby book, I prayed that from now on when the voice of truth whispers within, I would remember the hair incident. And I prayed for both of us that want would no longer overcome wisdom. That neither of us would snip away another golden strand.