In Which I Explain Our Fifteen Year Old's Tattoo...

April 25, 2012

Well, she's not quite 15...  But, the tattoo is her birthday gift, so she will be 15 shortly after getting it.  The question of whether or not to not only grant our permission for her to do this, but to sign our names on the dotted line for her to do this, has been a talking point at our house for months now.  Really, it's been a Parker-talks-we-tell-her-we'll-discuss-it-later kind of conversation.  Well, we finally had that discussion which consisted of "What do you think?" and "I'm fine with it" and "Are you sure?" and "Yes.  What about you?" and "I think I am, too."  There was no need for deep philosophical rhetoric because we already know our stance on tattoos in general.  The question, naturally, had to do with the fact that she is a minor.

Now, I don't feel I have to explain our choice to anyone in order to gain their approval.  Or their acceptance.  Or their understanding.  I am completely at peace with this and even excited about it.  My mom is fine with it and she's seriously the only individual on this planet (outside our four walls) whose opinion I would even take into consideration.

As a Christian, I am fine with it.  The only mention of tattoos in the Bible is in Leviticus 19:28.  The previous verse says not to trim the sides of your head or your beards referring to pagan practices of rounding the corners of their beards, etc. as a religious practice.  Nearly everyone I know gets a haircut periodically, but zero percent of them do it to express dark beliefs which, ironically (or not), is exactly the same percentage of people I know who have tattooed themselves for satanic purposes.  The rest of Leviticus 19 is full of "do-nots" that were purposeful in that they separated the Israelites from the pagans and their religious practices.  Not all of Leviticus 19 is irrelevant today; however, those other themes show up in New Testament scripture as well.  Tattooing does not. 

Let me put it this way:  I am more convicted in my spirit about my tendency to gossip everyday during my lunch than I am about allowing my daughter to get a tattoo.

Naturally, there are certain questions that people have asked or will ask.  Just for kicks, here are my responses.  Note:  I will be nice as long as the person asking the questions is.  Actually, I will be nice even if the person asking has that tone or that look when they ask...

It's permanent.  What if she regrets it? 
Then I guess she'll have to be a big girl and pay for laser tattoo removal one day.

Some businesses won't hire people who have tattoos.
I've honestly never experienced this.  I work with several professionals who have tattoos.  I've just always been around them; they don't freak me out.  If it's that big of a deal, she can wear a watch or a bangle over it.  In reality, I'm not sure she'd be a good fit in an organization that would use a one and a half inch space of her body to exclude her if her other qualifications meet or exceed their requirements.  I'm thinking I wouldn't be a good fit there, either.

She's only fifteen.  Don't you think that's a little young?
Maybe for your child.  Mine has been interested in tattooing as long as I can remember.  She spent lots of time during 2nd and 3rd grades drawing out tattoos she might like to have one day.  We have never encouraged it, but we also didn't tell her that people who have them are "less" or "weird"  somehow than those who don't.  Good thing, too, since all her aunts and uncles as well as her father and several family friends and members of our church family have them. 

I don't think she's more "mature" than the average 9th grader. I do believe she has put much thought and consideration into this.  We would have definitely bought her a piece of jewelry that she'd keep forever for her 15th if that's what she'd wanted.  This is a lot like that -- it just doesn't come off.  But, hey! -- she won't have to worry about losing it! : )

Those are the biggies.  One of my students asked me just yesterday at the beginning of class if PJB was really getting a tattoo for her birthday.  Evidently, she Instagrammed a screen shot of the text I'd send her asking her to send me the picture she had on her phone.  Her caption read, "Best text ever!"  I said, "Yes" which was met by a chorus of "Awesome!"  "You're the coolest parent ever!" I was surprised that one of my kiddos said her parents will let her get a tattoo when she decides she wants one. I would never have thought that about this particular family, but it made me smile.

But, make no mistake, sweet children.  I am not in the "Cool Mom" game.  There's an entire list of things most of them get to do that PJB isn't allowed to do. 

1.  Tan in a tanning bed.  (Unless something changes, she will no doubt enter a tanning salon on May 21, 2015 and sign up for a month.)

2.  Pierce her tragus.  (This may be what she does after she gets that tan.)

3.  Stay up as late as she wants on school nights. 

4.  Drive around with other teenagers.  (Exception:  Our friend, Kolby, and, on occasion, her BF, and she once got to go on a Sonic run with another teacher's child after school)

5.  Shop with a credit card

6.  Color her hair (This is a huge point of contention between us right now.  I may decide a few highlights are OK, but her hair color is beautiful and once she starts coloring it, it will never be the same.)

The list goes on, but just know that "Mom, everyone else gets to..." is heard in our home quite often. 

So, here you are.  If you stuck with me until the end, thank you.  Tune in next time when I entertain some other "big thinking" I've been doing recently! 

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