Friday, August 01, 2008
Am I creating a monster?
I'd have to recheck with my mom, but I'm pretty sure I was a good kid, even as a teenager. I never got detention except a few times in the hs dorms as a freshman until I figured out the system. I never got suspended and I definitely never had the principal calling my parents from school. In fact, I think I was quite angelic as a teenager, and the pride of my parents' eyes. I played sports, drove responsibly, made curfew, had honor roll grades, and was basically a gift.
I'm only saying this because I just got a call from the principal and my son, a junior now, already has detention for his hair color. It's not that he's never had detention for his hair. He's quite a regular at the cafeteria for his hair being too long (bangs over his eyebrows, or touching his collar, or covering his ears, or color, etc.) The difference is that this is the FIRST day of school.
OK, so I knew when I got the message from the principal that it would probably be his hair. See, I work at the same school (I won't say what school, but it's got a royal name), so I know what the rules are, have enforced quite a few in middle school myself, so as far as the handbook, I'm very familiar with it and have made these calls to parents myself. I'm actually trying to figure out why I feel the need to enforce the rules and let my son break the rules at the same time? Why am I rebelling now? And what is keeping me from just sending him to school with all his ducks in order instead of letting him push the limits on things I feel are silly rules, but as an employee I am forced to uphold?
See, sometimes he gets detention or gets sent to the office for his shoes too (which I bought for him). Shoes must be athletic type, they must be PREDOMINATELY blue, grey, white or black. They were hauling kids into the office in December for shoes that were white with too much black on them (like on the heel). It doesn't matter that they've been wearing those shoes from August, or that the other less dominant color is still one of the four acceptable, they still get sent to the office. Ok, true confession, I actually bought my son brown plaid shoes, and it's the girls in his advisory that got sent for their mostly acceptable but not acceptable enough shoes, but he was wearing those brown plaid shoes from August too and no one called him on it, so I didn't get him new shoes. I'm not a negligent parent. If the school is going to be consistent, then of course I'm going to follow the rules. So what does that make me? A rebel or just a fairness freak? I did notice that they took out the word PREDOMINATELY this year so my son has all white shoes, like those Keds shoes, but hmmm, is that athletic enough if they don't have shoe laces?
Back to the hair issue. He likes to dye his hair on the day that they get out of school. His hair was purple this summer, so in order to do that on dark hair, I had to bleach it. Hair has to be a "natural" color, but I always see these girls on campus with the totally bleached out hair with dark roots, so I figured "natural" meant not purple, blue, etc. Therefore, I cut his hair before school and I got all the purple out, leaving the bleached brown/yellow color. It's natural on someone in the world. Nope, not good enough. I still have to dye his hair this weekend. See natural on boys, I guess, has a different connotation at the high school than natural on girls. And if I wanted to pay the $100+ to get his hair highlighted, that would also be "natural" on girls, but iffy on boys. We get rid of that at middle school by saying no dyed hair of any kind.
Just some mana'o, but my son said that the Hawaiians believed that when you go to "school", the 'ike, the knowledge you gain is absorbed into your hair, so the longer your hair, the more 'ike, which is why you see halau dancers with long hair. But hey, we don't go to a Hawaiian school, we go to a school of Hawaiians.
The long and the short of it is that I have created a rule-pushing monster who nitpicks the semantics of all this verbage (ME), but today's the first day of school, so maybe they'll be consistent this year and I can go back to modeling rule following for my children. First days are always so hopeful! :)