Adverts for shampoo baffle me. They all contain wonder ingredients (‘Now with ‘Pixillated Horology essence working for your hair!’) which mean nothing to the likes of you and me-it might as well be snake oil. It might be snake oil for all I know, except that by now the Advertising Standards Authority should have caught up with them. I guess that in a thirty-second pitch, blinding the consumer with science, plus a sight of glossy, luxuriant hair (when did you last see short hair in a shampoo ad?) is all that can be got away with.
A short pitch, with a modicum of quasi-science; it’s a good job that most of our important decisions in life can be made on firmer, more thought-through foundations. I think of the work of parenting- long, with much imbibed by the child without the need for parents’ words; I think of the work of our schools, where ‘values’ are much to the fore these days, and especially in the four primary schools in our parish which I have been privileged to be part of for the past nine-years-plus.
This week , and tomorrow, I have had a part/will have a part, in the leaving services at our three church schools, and as I look at the fine 11 year olds who are leaving to go on to secondary education, I’m conscious of the patient work, the long-haul, of schools and parents, showing by example, explaining, not just a million facts and educational skills, but what it means to be fully human, rounded, balanced, able to weigh up the good, the shoddy, the snake oil of life.
‘The glory of God is a person fully alive’ said Irenaeus of Lyons back in the 2nd Century. More than just shiny hair then! Fully alive to all the possibility that heaven and earth offers to live to the glory of God, and for each other. Our prayers go with these youngsters as they move out of primary school; and maybe we can spare a thought for ourselves, as we reflect on where we might be more fully alive.