Fathers and Sons

I have three kids, two of which are boys. My oldest son is a grown man, and my youngest is a baby. Most people respond to this  by asking (or thinking) “What the hell were you thinking about?!” What do they know, I’m a happy man!

Now this age difference between my offspring gives me an advantage in raising my youngest child. It’s very rare that one has the opportunity to raise children to adulthood, and then be able to lean on that complete experience while bringing up another.

I’ve been cutting hair, well, forever. My children grew up in the Barber Shop, and my son is now a Barber at Exodus Barber Shop, the Best Barber Shop in Atlanta! Once my baby boy arrived, Daniel was adamant that he should spend time in the shop, and be brought up around “real man” situations.

I always thought my kids were bored to death in the shop (well my daughter was), and back then, I had no choice but to keep them with me at the job. Imagine my surprise when my son exclaimed how valuable the shop had been to his development as a boy, and a young man. You see the Barber Shop, especially in our community, is a place for men to be men.

In this day and age, it’s hard enough for fathers to get quality time in with their children, particularly their sons. In fact a recent study revealed that on average, men spend only 56 minutes a day with their children. We live in a society where we’re forced to spend more time away from our families, just to keep food on the table, and a roof over their heads. Kids spend the majority of their time in school, daycare , and in many cases the streets, because mom is working all day herself. Heck, today even grandma’s working all day, and doesn’t have to time to make those meals we used to love!  Plus we all know that many of these kids are raised in single parent homes, and that single parent is stressed out! No wonder so many of our kids are lost, as they increasingly find themselves turning to the media, strangers, other kids, and worst of all, the streets!

That’s why I advocate father’s taking their son’s to the barber shop. Now I know you’re thinking, “Of course you’d say that Dan, you own a shop!”  Ok, you got me there, and in the big picture the Barber Shop is just one way to spend time with your boy. For example, I worked a lot when my kids were growing up, so I made sure I took off Sundays, and that was my son’s and my day to play basketball. He’d play with all the grown ups, and it helped him

become a man. We continued this for years, untill he dunked on me and eventually became bored with the lack of compettition from the old folks!

Seriously, this isn’t just a plug for the shop, but a sincere expression of the need for us to put that special time in with our boys. Think of it this way, most people get their hair cut on a schedule, once every week or two. This is a time when you can look forward to getting away, just the fellas. The Barber Shop is just one example of how to get that time in.

This becomes even more important for father’s who don’t live with their sons. If at all possible, don’t let your kid’s mom take the them to the shop by herself. Trust me, 99% of them don’t want to go anyway!

If you’ve ever patronized  a traditional Barber Shop, you know that all kinds of topics are discussed, from Politics, to music, sports, etc.  These conversations present a wonderful opportunity for certain subjects to be introduced to, and discussed with your kids, especially  after your visit is over.  Admittedly,  the introduction of some of these subjects can be a bit uncomfortable (ie: women, relationships, SEX!), but it’s always better for us to be able to get ahead of these topics, rather than have them lean on other boys, who probably won’t know what their talking about anyway. Fortunately, at Exodus, the conversations are kept clean. Profanity is a “no-no” because we are, first and foremost, a business.

At the end of the day, it’s just healthy for us to be in “real man” situations with our boys. So come on down to the Barber Shop. Spend that quality time with your sons, and leave feeling, and looking like a million bucks!

Blog written by Dan Brown “The Barber”