Go up, you baldhead!

In part as an attempt to connect myself to the great poet and author Shel Silverstein, and in second part to draw association with Matthew McConaughey from his role in Reign of Fire (I know, wishful thinking), I decided to shave my head and leave the beard. Surely the new cut would only bolster this twin feature of skilled wordsmith and all-American Bad A/part-time cage fighter.

That delusion lasted about 30 seconds, when upon my exit from the bathroom the dog barked, our infant cried, and my five-year-old began laughing hysterically while pointing and saying repeatedly in an almost demonic overtone, “Baldhead! Baldhead!”

So what did I do? What any Christian father would do. I gently explained the story of Elisha, the prophet of God, who was chided by a group of children with the mocking slur, “Go up you baldhead!” (2 Kings 2). “Those boys mocked the bald prophet, and you know what happened? Wild bears came out of the woods and ripped those boys to pieces. So, you don’t want to make fun of daddy’s baldhead, do you, son?”

We’re all about grace in our home, obviously. Don’t make fun of my bald head or a bear is going to come out of the backyard and eat you. Yeah, it seemed wise as I was saying it—even witty—but after the words left my mouth I cringed. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “Great parenting. Don’t make fun of my bald head or bears will eat you? What was I thinking?”

My son, however, seems to know how this game of over-applied Scripture works. “Oh yeah, daddy, well if a bear attacks me, I’ll just pull out my rock thrower like David and kill him dead.” Touché, five-year-old, touché.

Quite humorously, there’s actually a song about this called Go on up, you baldhead on YouTube. I shared it with my son, and laughed at the chorus:

Bears are eating my friends
Female bears are ripping off our limbs
When you mock a prophet of the Lord you’ll wind up dead
Now I am regretting those last words that I said.

After the song finished playing he began singing his own version of the chorus: “Bears are eating your bald head, it’s so shiny that they’ll eat you and you’ll wind up dead.” Incorrigible. At this point I am flabbergasted by his insistence that my bald head is a laughing matter. And now we have the routine each morning where he runs into my study, peers around the door with a sly grin and says, “Good morning… bald head!”

What a laugh we’ve all had about daddy’s bald head. Which brings me to a final pithy summary of a lesson we’re all learning through it—our children teach us not to take ourselves too seriously. They make you laugh at yourself in a way that’s not mean-spirited or cruel, but silly, playful, and warmhearted. And I think that’s ultimately a good thing, because adult life can be so stuffy shirted and serious and in the end pretentious.

In a day and age when image is everything and public personalities carefully groom and paste their headshots on any and every platform they can find, it’s a refreshing reminder that somebody in the world sees us for who we really are. And the thing is, our kids just don’t care about all that.

So laugh at yourself. Take your personal PR campaign a little less seriously. And if you need help, just hang out with a couple of three-footers who always seem to point out the lighter side of you.


2 thoughts on “Go up, you baldhead!

  1. Can’t wait to have Benjamin in my class! I may even use his awesome lyrical skills to create some new songs and chants. Love little ones with their senses of humor.

    • There’s certainly no lack of laughter with the things they say! He’s excited as can be about going to school, too, Patty. I’m sure the stories will only multiply at that point!

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