The First Shave…A Dad, A Son, And One Of Life’s Milestones.

One of the many things dads do is to teach, both by example and by words…remember getting a lecture from your old man? Under the heading of “Dadly things I get to show my kids.” we find things like how to change your own oil, how to ride a bike, how to throw a ball or shoot a basket, how to shine shoes, how to tie a necktie and how to shave. Most of these, especially the last one, is for dads to teach their sons.

Many times, when a dad teaches his son a skill or habit he’ll need in life, it’s a true rite of passage. Rites of passage are those moments that come along that deserve a little special attention, a spotlight. That’s not to say that you throw a dinner in his honor and all sit around the table commenting on how many times he cut himself. In fact, teaching your son to shave is a dadly rite of passage that should be highlighted, marked, and then all involved should just go about their business as if this was meant to be all the time (which it was) and that junior is now an expert..”no worries…I got this” kind of thing. A step toward manhood.

Every boy is different and develops at a different rate. Because of this, you really have to watch and know your son’s face. I think that generally, a boy is around 13 or 14 when the hair begins to be noticeable, but it could be as early as 12 or late as 15 or even 16. Also, listen to what he’s saying. If he is starting to say things like, “…the guys are giving me a hard time always asking me if my upper lip is dirty” or “…Mr. Grundy, down the street says my mustache is coming in great.”…then it’s probably time to get out the razor.

Your son’s learning to shave process actually starts at a very early age. He will like to stand in awe as he watches you miraculously drag a sharp blade across your face and make the whiskers disappear! I remember my dad giving me his old safety razor from the 1940’s and using it, without a blade, to scrape off a little shaving cream he had given me….in this way we could “shave” together. When he is watching you shave, talk about what you’re doing at the time, hot towel…hot water….shaving cream or soap…angle of razor, etc.. Also, let him in on your preferences for razors, creams and of course, after shave. My dad always used Mennan Skin Bracer, so I did too….at first….YIKES!!! That stuff stings!

Finally, be ready with an “atta boy”, compliment him on his look, give him whatever tips he may need, then leave him alone. Of course, you could take pics and video to document this turning point in your son’s life (see video below).  I took this video while visiting my mother and David, my son, told me he felt he was ready to shave his face….lip. David is now almost 22 years old.  Let your son develop and go ti on his own from then on. Growing up is an adventure and most of the time, he will want to adventure on his own….with your guidance. Oh, and don’t forget to get him his first shaving kit. These come in various levels of price and can include many other grooming utensils so just shop around.


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