We were at Sea World with the kids, in line for a ride when I happened to bend down and my 7 year old took note of all the white hairs that are noticeable on the top of my head. She let out a “wow!” and wasn’t shy in pointing out to me that I had a lot of white hairs. What followed was one of those magical parenting moments. They don’t happen nearly as often as I’d like, so I savor them when they do.
“Those are my wisdom hairs,” I told her and all the kids who were now listening intently.
“What’s that?” she asked.
“Each one of those hairs represents wisdom that I’ve gained over the years.”
We laughed with Dad about how he doesn’t have any wisdom hairs on his head since he’s bald but that he’s starting to get more and more wisdom hairs in his goatee.
And then the 9 year old took the conversation in a perfect direction as he asked, “Can I take a few of your wisdom hairs and put them on my head?”
And very wisely, I responded, “Wisdom hairs can’t be given away. If I gave you some, they’d just fall off your head. You have to earn your wisdom hairs throughout your life as you learn and grow through hard things, just like I have. And then, one day, I promise you’ll get your wisdom hairs, too.”
The conversation and fun moved on from there. But it was one of those moments I hope my kids will remember. The next time they are going through something hard, I’ll remind them that they’re in the process of earning their wisdom hairs. And the next time I look in the mirror and lament the physical signs of aging, I’ll remember the value of the experiences that have brought me to this stage in life and I will embrace the gray.