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One of the most joyous days I remember was my son’s second birthday. We had postponed his first hair cut for this important day. One of my closest friends and I took him and, with camera in hand, we marched to our favorite barber, Bob. This kindly gentleman put him on the baby chair and made a wonderful occasion of it for us all. I will treasure those pictures forever. For two years, I had the wonder of watching his baby locks shine and twist and turn without a word of protest from him. Next year, he may be a skin head, wear a Mohawk or worse yet what if the D.A. comes back in style! Well, I had those two years.

It seems obvious to me, that decisions such as when to get baby’s first haircut are the prerogative of the parent. Unfortunately , it seems that we are doing a reasonable job of telling people how to stay alive; how to avoid AIDS; the value of bicycle helmets, etc.. But, we aren’t educating people in how to live with their fellows. You can imagine my shared sense of loss when a friend came to me filled with anger and frustration because she came home and found that her baby-sitter had done her a favor by giving her child his first haircut!

In another instance, one of my friends gave his son into the care of a loving aunt who returned the child with his ears pierced as a present. The father had refused permission to his son to get his ears pierced feeling that he was too young to make such a decision or to take care of the wound properly. Needless to say this gift brought on a massive infection.

The sad part of this story is that the people who committed these violations on other peoples children were well meaning and were trying to please. How do we teach people where the boundaries are? It seems obvious to me that a person ought to know better than to give someone else’s child a living animal for a pet; or to give a child a lot of money, or candy; or to alter a child’s clothes; or to teach a child to shoot a gun; or to buy war toys; or to teach a child to fight (self-defense). Unfortunately, many people don’t know the boundaries. I wish , since society is teaching so many things to keep us alive, more time would be spent on teaching us how to live.

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