I sat with *Kadijah we both colored alongside each other a pictures of Strawberry Shortcake. I hadn’t realized how therapeutic coloring could be as an adult and for Kadijah it was an act of showing off her fine motor skills as she colored with great precision.
I thought I’d make for some stimulating conversation and asked the eight year old “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
A smile erupted and broke the “I’m focused” look on her face while her eyes never left eye contact with Strawberry’s hat.
“I want to be a hair stylist.”
“That’s cool. I used to do hair for a little while. Why do you want to be that?”
“Well whenever anybody needs their hair done they make me do it.”
“Wow, what type of stuff do they ask you to do?”
“They ask me to make their hair curly, braid it up, everything. The other day I twisted my sister’s hair up onto her scalp while it was wet and when it dried in the morning she had curls everywhere!”
“Who taught you to do that?”
“Nobody, I just knew how to do it” she confessed through a shrug.
I listened on to find out that I was in fact sitting next to a hair styling prodigy. Known to do all her family members hair and not withheld by any hair technique; she could even braid. Her teacher was herself.
Looking back at my previous career within the hair industry I thought of how helpless I often felt and unable to do well with clients styling needs.
If only I had a tenth of what this child had I might still be in the industry.
“One time I wanted to dye my older sister’s hair so we used Kool-Aid and it worked.”
“Who told you that Kool-Aid can dye hair?”
“Nobody, I just thought to try it because it stains your tongue.”
I sat in complete awe and finished coloring Strawberry Shortcakes shirt before going to check on the other kids.
The conversation stuck with me on the drive home. How often does that happen? Someone is just born great at something? I finally witnessed it.
Once I read an article about the late Vidal Sassoon. In order to perfect his craft he worked beyond his schedule. Practicing on clients for free and messing up several mannequin heads until he was the most asked for stylist at his salon.
That sounds great but Kadijah was on to something even better. Actually loving to do something and being gifted at it. Early on.
I was now on a mission to find out everyone’s answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” after that.
I’ll leave the answers I received at The Life Center for another blog post but for now I think it could be of interest for you to figure out your gift. Or maybe you can help bring out a child you knows gift. Or you can even come to The Life Center and help us bring out the gifts in the children there.
I know exactly what Kadijah is getting from me this Christmas if I can help it. In the spirit of all the hairdressers before me: a mannequin head and a Chemistry set. Plus a little exposure to the endless possibilities that exist within the world of beauty at schools like F.I.T and industries like Perfume & Hair Dye Chemistry or Beauty Marketing.