The barber shop was full for a typical Saturday morning. Men and their sons were getting their regular haircuts. My barber had me in the chair exactly when he said he would.
“What will it be, the same as last time?” he asked, looking at me through the mirror. He already knew the answer.
“Of course, what could I do differently with the few hairs left on my mid-50’s head,” I snickered back.
As he turned my chair away from the mirror and faced me toward the seated customers waiting their turns, everyone in the place was drawn to a small commotion beginning innocently enough.
Seems one father had a young son, probably not more than two-and-a-half, who had decided that he was not getting a haircut.
“I don’t want to get in that scary chair!” he yelled. For a few minutes the regular cries and yells from the small child ensued, the rest of us smiling to ourselves, remembering our own experiences with our sons at that age. We all knew that within a few snips of the barber’s scissors, all the drama and fear would be over for the little boy, regardless of how much his present fears had paralyzed his current world.
We adults need to remind ourselves about our “scary chairs”. We all have them, just like the little boy, although as adults most of us first do everything we can to disguise our fears from our world before we start yelling and screaming when the fears – the scary chairs - don’t go away. But only if we could realize at the moment that most of the time nothing really bad is going to happen when we’re sitting in our scary chairs. So what could we do?
Many of us adults would be wise to listen to our friends when we start fearing our scary chairs. It would do us good to listen to their counsel, because our good friends know that in just a little while our time in the scary chair will be over. Their previous similar experiences can serve as a guide for our anticipation of the fearful unknown.
I must admit that I was quite proud of myself for being able to connect the dots of this scary chair lesson. But the child had a surprise for me, and perhaps for you, because in less than a minute the child reminded me of an even more important lesson. Check it out.
Same kid, same dad, same barber. His Dad now was in the chair getting his every-four-week trim. Meanwhile, the boy was 10 licks into the lollipop the barber had given him for “being a good boy.”
The whole time his dad was in the chair (he had more hair than I did, by the way) not once did I hear a mummer or wimping or gentle cry from the child. He was on to his next thing – the lollipop. Sure, you and I both know that many more -- perhaps -- legitimate scary chair experiences might come at him another day, but for right now, he was off of the chair, and, most importantly, over it.
And that’s the lesson for ALL of us adults. We need to learn to move on to the next thing just like the child can. Seems as we grow older we need, or at least want, to tell the world about our scary chair experiences. Some of us want to complain that we live in a world that makes us have scary chair experiences. We have forgotten how to let it go, immediately after we get off the chair.
One of the main differences between scary chair experiences as adults versus kids is the kid gets the lollipops afterwards. We adults have to move on to the next life event, or responsibility, or decision. Sometimes life makes us go from one scary chair to next with no break in-between.
Ask yourself this: What would happen if we adults could let it all go, when it should be let go -- just like the kid did when he got off his scary chair -- wouldn’t our daily lives be just a little bit easier? I thank that nameless child for our adult lesson. But he probably doesn’t need another lollipop.