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Haircut Discipleship

So yesterday evening I decided to go and get my haircut. I typically go to one of the nicer salons in the mall. My deal is this... I don't make appointments. I just walk up and take whomever they have open. As a result I've come to know the stories of about half of the stylists there. Just about every time I get to share my faith based on these two questions:

Q. So what do you do for a living?
A: I'm a Pastor

Q: (after the shock wears off) What made you become a Pastor?
A: (DING DING DING) The gospel gets explained.

So yesterday I walk in for my unannounced appointment and the receptionist says that there aren't any stylists available for another hour. The girl next to her whispers something and then the receptionist says "Well, we do have an assistant in training who can do it if you'd like. Her cuts are much less expensive."

I said to her in a joking manner "Can she do the messy look b/c that's all I need?" We both smiled and off I was with my new (and unexperienced) stylist for the day.

Basically what happened next was the longest haircut of my life. This poor girl was only on her 3rd day EVER. She had just completed beauty school and was a month or so away from taking her state boards. I had confidence however because in my mind 'surely they wouldn't have her here if she wasn't very good.' I was wrong.

Several problems developed. First it was that all of my hair was the same height (sides, back, top). It didn't look good so I asked her to trim down the sides and back. After about 5 minutes of watching her nervously cut the sides I said "You can use clippers if you want."

I must say that I cut my own hair and the hair of my friends from the time I was 13 until about a year or two ago. So I honestly had been cutting hair for close to 15 years. I felt horrible for this girl who was still learning.

For whatever reason I was in a good mood yesterday about all of this. I prayed silently "God, teach me some things and help me to be an encouragement and witness to her."

I started to have fun with it. I calmed her down and asked if they had taught her much about cutting mens hair. She admitted that she spent most of her time on perms and coloring as well as fancy women's styles. Not much on the basics of a mans trim. I then asked if she had ever used clippers. Again she said no. So here I was with a girl fresh out of school who hadn't used clippers HOLDING CLIPPERS next to my hair.

After several attempts at showing her how to use clippers I finally said to her "We have two options at this point. Either I have to finish the haircut or I need you to get someone here to help you finish... I'm running out of hair to fix."

As a "master" stylist came and repaired the job I took time to talk with my rookie stylist and assured her that we all make mistakes. I'm fine with her attempts and I know she'll get better. I even told her that when she gets her own haircut show that I hope she'll still do my cuts.

I thought about how we disciple in Christianity.

I thought about how we delegate in Leadership.

I thought about my own mistakes as a staff member.

In all of these things I recalled how important it is to be able to "Fail Safely". Maxwell has a book I read a number of years ago called "Failing Forward". He basically makes the point (well) that we all fail in life. The difference is that people who acheive make sure they 'fail forward'. When people around us fail, let's help them fail with dignity. Help them fail and learn a lesson or two. When people fail morally let's help "restore them gently" as scripture teaches. How I wish I had more people who helped me succeed in my failures when I was just getting started.

This young lady thanked me several times for my patience and understanding. She said "I can't tell you how many clients would have flipped out and made a scene for far less." That's sad. It's sad because I wonder how many clients are Christians who aren't representing the cross. I'm not saying that Christians should always get terrible service. I'm saying that we need to be willing to demonstrate for others a bit of that grace that was demonstrated for us on that cross and continues to be demonstrated every day when we fall short of God's glory.

By the way, my hair was repaired and looks fine. Just shorter than it has been. My wife likes it and as long as she thinks I'm hot I have nothing to worry about :)

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, May 27, 2007


At 9:18 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

What, no picture?


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