My wife and I have often discussed whether we would observe the custom of letting our young son's hair grow until he reaches the age of 3. It's not my family custom, and I'm not crazy about the fact that everybody's doing it nowadays. It would've been my little protest against people taking on practices unneccessarily.
Because of the recent issues that I've been blogging (and which reflect realities which I encounter), I'm wondering if the custom of the upsherin isn't to create a black-line, a moment in the conscious life of a young boy in which he;s entered into 'boyhood'. Until that point, the child is relatively genderless. At one moment, you get short hair, a yamaka, and tzitzis. Maybe there's something about consciously 'becoming' a boy which generates a stronger gender identity? I'm starting to rethink my position on the upsherin issue. Unless, of course, my yingele gets lice (ch"v).