Every parent knows that teenagers are strong-willed. They want to alter their style as soon as trends change. They swap clothes and interests with the wind. And it’s up to the adults in their lives to guide them through this time of self-discovery.
So, when teenager Jason decided that he wanted his hair dreadlocked, his parents didn’t put up a fight. Instead, they encouraged him to make decisions about his own body, including what to do with his hair. And for nine years, he grew and took care of his long hair.
But then, he decided to make a drastic change – without telling his mother about his plans. Instead, he let her come home and see what he had done to his hair after almost a decade of having dreadlocks. Needless to say, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
Before that day, though, teenager Jordan had spent nine years growing out his dreadlocks. And doing so required quite a bit of dedication from him. Indeed, transforming hair into dreadlocks is a lengthy process that requires ongoing maintenance once complete.
For most people with dreads, the process starts with hair in its natural state. They divide it into sections, depending on how thick they want their dreads. Then, they secure each section with a rubber band.
To create dreads, each ponytail is typically backcombed in order to build solid cylinders of hair. And in order to maintain each one, it’s necessary to apply wax on a regular basis in order to keep the dreads together. They have to be manually twisted to keep them in shape, too.
Clearly, Jordan had kept up well with these responsibilities for almost a decade. In a video posted to YouTube, his long, sun-kissed dreadlocks dangle well beneath his shoulders. As soon as the camera starts rolling, though, it becomes clear that they probably won’t stay that way for long.
That’s because, seconds into the video, someone else enter the frame. It’s a man, Jordan’s father Maximillian, and he’s wielding shears. Jordan flips his head forward and the family barber goes to work, clipping each one of his son’s dreadlocks away from his head.
Although the video footage has been speeded up, it’s clear that the process took a while to complete. Indeed, Maximillian has to remove each dreadlock at the root in order to restore Jordan’s hair to its natural state. He could have washed, conditioned and combed through each dreadlock instead, but that’s a process that can last for two days.
With his dreadlocks gone, in the video Jordan is left with just inches of hair, as opposed to the dangling strands that he’d started with. His dad finishes the job by leveling Jordan’s hairline and buzzing the lower half of his son’s head to complete the new look.
All he had left to do, then, was to show his mother, Melanie, his new hairstyle. She returned home that day with no idea of what her son had been up to. And as she came into the house, Jordan’s sibling filmed her.
“Mommy, mommy,” the child behind the camera says, trying to get Melanie’s attention. But their mother remains oblivious, fumbling with grocery bags as Jordan approaches the door to surprise her with his new hairstyle.
Jordan makes his way towards his mother, echoing his sibling’s greeting. “Hi Mommy,” he says as he emerges from out of shot to greet her by the sun-drenched front door. Melanie looks at him for a second before her jaw drops in complete shock.
Upon realizing that her son’s dreadlocks are gone, she almost squeals. “Oh, my god,” she says in a high-pitched tone, as Jordan reaches out to give his mother a hug. Her huge smile fades into tears as she and her son embrace.
“Look at your boy, look at him!” says Jordan’s sibling from behind the camera. “He’s different.” Only then does Melanie break from her hug to take a step back and look at her son’s new, cropped haircut more closely.
And it turned out that, for almost a decade, Melanie had dreamed of seeing her son without his long dreadlocks. She had kept it a secret, of course, as her son loved having his extra-long hair. He received lots of attention and compliments for his dreads, after all.
But when Jordan finally found out that she wanted him to have his hair trimmed, he and his father came up with a plan to surprise her with his new look. It seemed to be worth the effort, as the new haircut brought his mother to tears when she first saw it.
For parents, this story could serve as a lesson in how to guide teenagers to groom and maintain their appearance. Some parents might be against their young children growing and maintaining dreadlocks or another out-of-the-box hairstyle.
Melanie and her husband, however, instead encouraged their children to choose their own style. They allowed their kids to take control of the way they looked and in the process gave them autonomy over their own bodies from a young age.
So, when Jordan wanted to, he grew out his hair and rolled it into dreadlocks. And when he wanted a change, he cropped it again. Everyone in the family was happy – and perhaps even happier the next day, when Jordan had his hair cut by a professional barber to give him a modern fade style.