It has been two years that Maysen has been asking for his ears to be pierced. At first, like most parents both Nate and I were immediately saying, "No" hoping/thinking it was nothing but a phase. This was his request at birthdays and Christmases and he would slip the request in during reward time.
The answer continued to be "No" and the more we said "No" the more questions he asked. Of course being his parents, we didn't have to give him an answer but it did, admittedly, start my mind wondering.
If Maysen was a girl would we relent and let her pierce them? Probably. What moral compass would we be steering off course by allowing it? After a lot of pondering, the only thing I could come up with is the social stigma having a "pierced ear" portrayed. Bully. Tough guy. Menace. Rebel.
This led us in the discussion of judging people by appearances and how we've tried to raise the boys to not judge others. If my only reason to Maysen was "It looks bad", this tells him: I don't care what you think looks good. People will judge you in a bad way even though you're a good kid.
I wasn't buying any of what I was trying to sell. After working hard on respect, gratefulness, positive attitude, Maysen has come a long way. We talked about responsibility on keeping his ear clean and working hard at changing that age-old stigma of boys with earrings. He understands that some people might see his earring and automatically think he's a boy gone rogue. He would have to work hard to show others what a beautiful person on this inside he is. Boys with earrings don't have to be thugs, bullies, street rats, or whatever else I can hear my own parents and grandparents saying when I was growing up.
I asked my good friends on Facebook what they all thought. Man I've got some great friends! No one was afraid to give me their own opinion and I value that so much! It really did show me that no matter who you are, where you came from, we all have our own opinions! A good friend told me, "Sometimes it's not our job to understand why things are so important to them." Moments after his ear was pierced his head was held a little higher. He stood a little taller with confidence and looked in the mirror with the biggest of smiles that continued for hours. After all, isn't that what we want as parents? We want our kids to feel good about themselves? I think there are so many body image issues in our world today that if having a pierced ear gives my kid confidence in himself, then so be it.
Make no mistake: I've already told him to forget about asking for a tattoo or any of that stuff until he's his own adult and until he's out of the house. You can't just take one of those off and let it heal up on its own if you decide you don't like it when you grow up. We have also had the discussion that if he does start to act like a thug, bully, street rat, bad grades, disrespect ... that earring is O.U.T.... and probably with the backing still in place!