You’re never too young to find your passion in life, and you’re certainly never too young to realize your capability to positively impact the world around you – two lessons that it’s safe to say 8-year-old Neijae Graham-Henries has already learned.
She just might be the world’s youngest barber, but that’s not stopping her from being one of the world’s sweetest barbers, too. The more titles the better, right?
Neijae discovered her love for cutting hair at the inaugural Junior Barber Academy in 2018 – a six-week training program in which she was not only the youngest pupil but the only female, as well.
Her mother initially encouraged Neijae’s brother to attend and was surprised to learn her daughter was the one who was interested.
“She said, ‘Mom, I can do it. It looks like it would be fun. Let’s give it a try,'” her mother told the Philadelphia Tribune. “I told her, ‘There probably won’t be any girls in the class.’ She said, ‘Mom, that’s OK. I can do it.'”
Neijae goes to school and plays with her dolls like most girls her age, but she also volunteers her barber services to homeless veterans and others in her community who can’t afford regular haircuts.
“I like helping people look their best,” she said. “It makes them feel good.”
She is wise beyond her years, this one, and no doubt she’s going places. Now, not later.
And her parents provide an important reminder that, no matter how surprising our kids’ interests might seem at the time or how unlikely we feel like they are to follow through on them, it’s our job to nurture them and provide learning opportunities.
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“We are responsible for nurturing Neijae’s interest and ensuring that she receives the proper training and opportunities which allow her to develop her skills,” her mom added. “We are happy for her and hope that she has an amazing career. As long as she’s happy, we are happy.”
Parenting 101, people. Take notes.