Defining the Non-negotiables
When I was a little girl, I begged and begged for my parents to take me to get my ears pierced.
I was born in the early 70’s and for us that was a big deal. My Dad said emphatically No for years. When I was ten, he finally said yes, but it was just to placate me.
He told me “When you turn 13, you can get your ears pierced.”
You can bet that the day I turned 13, I came home from school and went straight to my mom with my request. She pierced them (with a sewing needle and ice!) right there in the dining room.
My Dad wasn’t happy, but he had agreed to it. Two years later though, when I repeatedly asked to get them double pierced he told me “The day you get your ears double pierced is the day you move out.”
I was an “interesting teen”, so I decided to test that theory.
I took some ice and a needle into the bathroom, did the deed– although it took me 45 minutes because it HURT. Then I was too afraid to show my parents, so I just didn’t. I figured they would notice. It took my mom six months to spot it, probably because of my long hair. My Dad was pretty mad, but he didn’t kick me out.
As a parent myself, I am much less concerned about the appearances my kids keep up than I am about how they are doing in school, emotionally, spiritually and relationally within the family.
A little hair color doesn’t scare me. Nor do a nose or an eyebrow piercing indicate rebellion.
They are simply a changing fashion and many who get them do end up letting them close up. It’s simply not worth getting all worked up about.
I draw the line on consenting to a tattoo for a minor. Our daughter got a tattoo on her 18th birthday, which was within her legal (and financial) ability to do so… but six months earlier when she tried to talk me into it I told her no. If she wants to waste her money on a tattoo when she’s over 18, that’s her business. It doesn’t diminish her worth in the eyes of Christ, but I’m not going to sign–or pay–for it.
Really though, in the grand scheme of parenting, a piercing or a tattoo are some of the least of our concerns. Our non-negotiables include things like drug and alcohol use, smoking, being disrespectful and swearing.
The things that matter are the things we don’t budge on.