We all look up to someone, whether they are a fictional character or someone in real life, someone we want to be like when we grow up. Whether our hero is superman or Mahatma Gandhi later in life, but our first idols will always be our parents as they are the ones who share the same values and morals that we have. Parents sacrifice everything so that their kids could have a better life than the one they had. There is no doubt that every child cherishes their parents, but as they start growing up, they become distant and want to spend more time with people around their age. As time goes on, all children discern that no matter who comes in their life, no one can take their parents’ place. Lamentably, for some, this realization comes when they see their empty chair. Herman Manning Jr., a twenty-year-old barber, is someone who understands this more than anyone else.
Herman Manning Jr. was just seventeen years old when he lost his father. In a blink of an eye, this loss changed him inside out. Since a young age, Herman dreamt of being a footballer. But, when his father passed away, he decided to leave this dream behind. He didn’t even know how it happened, but a voice inside him told him that this wasn’t what he was meant to do. It was then when he decided to go to a barber school and look after his dad’s legacy.
Herman’s father was a barber himself. He treasured what he did because he believed barbering saved him. However, life wasn’t easy for him. He encountered many obstacles during this process, the most detrimental one being his business partner deserting him when he was on the brink of death. Herman Manning Jr. saw it all. That day he made a promise to himself: no matter what happens, he will continue his father’s legacy, and help flourish his dad’s business even more.
Manning Jr.’s quest to become a barber might not have been all rainbows and glitters, but it made him find himself. Along this trail, many of his close friends stabbed him in the back and took advantage of him, many doubted and scoffed at him and told him to rethink his decision as he would not be able to make it through, but Herman proved them all wrong by becoming a successful barber. As he took his first step into this journey, he found himself metamorphosing into a better version of himself, someone who has a purpose and goal in life.
Herman’s father taught him one thing about life that he could never forget: one’s look says a lot about them. You can tell where the person’s life is heading with just one look at how they dress. His great grandmother taught this to his father which he passed on to Herman: When one comes in with saggy pants and messy hair, people will call them a thug, but if one has a nice clean haircut, and dresses well, people will usually them a chance to at least present themselves. This lesson struck a chord in Herman’s heart, and he realized one bitter truth about life, the value of appearance. It also accentuates his love for barbering and fashion, which is very evident with one gaze at his Instagram and his get-up.
Our society doesn’t furnish the world of a barber with the appreciation and gratitude they genuinely deserve, especially on social media. Knowing all this, Herman Jr. wants to change how we perceive barbers. Therefore, he daily uploads videos of his satisfied clients along with his everyday lifestyle to give in a scoop of what it is like to be a barber on his Instagram account. He has big plans for his expedition ahead. Once the pandemic is over, he aspires to open his own barbershop, and wants to achieve everything his father wanted.
Life hasn’t been gentle on Herman Manning Jr., but when there is a will, there is a way. He made it through all the hardships life hurled at him with a smile on his face and his father’s memories in his heart because he knew he owed it all to his father. Many stories inspire us to become a better person, but Herman Jr.’s story kills two birds with one stone, teaching us to not only improve our selves but also to never to give up even when everyone doubts and turns against us. It teaches us to cherish the time we spend with our parents because we never know when it will be our last.