My eldest daughter, Rebekah, once asked me a question. She was standing at the top of the stairs and my other 2 daughters were at the bottom of the stairs near me in the living room. She asked, “Dad, is it ok if I get my belly button pierced?”
Hmmmm….this has got to be a trick question I think to myself. If I say yes, then obviously the other two girls hear it and will then feel they also have permission to have that done when they are Beka’s age. If I say no it sets up an argument about piercing and style that will likely go on for a long time in the household considering the 2 younger girls are only in middle school. Hmmm…how to respond?
First, I thought about what I had preached to so many of my conservative church-going friends who were parents. How often had I said, in response to them complaining about their kids’ styles, “Do NOT destroy the relationship with your child over style. They want to dye their hair purple? When are they EVER going to be able to do it if not in high school? They want to wear what most everyone is wearing? It does NOT mean they are a slut. It just means they want to be a member of a tribe. Chill out and save big battles for big issues, not shoe styles.”
Then I thought about what I had told my own children many times. I am fine with you wearing and accessorizing whatever you want. Any style is ok as long as it’s not permanent (i.e. tattoos, they can get those when they are over 18 and out of the house if they want), dangerous, harmful or hurtful to themselves or others, then I am fine with it. IF, however, I find that your character and behavior goes south I reserve the right to investigate whether your style has anything to with it. If it does, then that style will have to go or be modified.
So, now was the moment of truth. Was I going to practice what I preached with Rebekah? My response was, “Well, I think I would want to go to a doctor and ask what he or she thought of belly button piercings, I would research it, I would find out if there were big infection problems, etc. If that all came back ok, then I would let you get your belly button pierced.”
She listened, turned and walked towards her room and said, “That’s cool. I don’t really want to get it pierced, I just wanted to see what you would say.”
That cracked me up.
Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, who limits his piercing activity to using skewers for shish kebobs.