Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pick Your Battles Wisely

Read at your own opinions on this next topic will make some of you less than thrilled, but that is actually part of what makes this blogging thing so fun!

Yesterday I received a phone call from a friend telling me the following story:
A 1st grader, attending a private K-12 school, had a washable, temporary tattoo on his forearm. The tattoo was not obscene or immoral in any way. It was not distracting to others. Just a fun, little stick-on tattoo. His teacher did not say anything about the tattoo; however, another teacher was apparently offended, and chose to pick this stupid battle. Sure enough, the next day, an addendum to the dress code was added: No temporary tattoos.

Can I just ask where common sense has gone? I am discouraged as it is becoming an endangered quality in the lives of those I have to share this planet with! Really, with all that is facing young children today, with the lack of ethics, respect and civility in this country, all these people can focus on is a temporary tattoo on the forearm of a six year old?

Now before you go all crazy on me, hear me out. Some might say, "Well, what if all the kids end up covering themselves in these washable tattoos, that could get out of hand." I say: Why not deal with the few who will take it too far? That is the core of many issues in this country. We tend to take rights away from those who know how to behave because that is easier than dealing with REAL problems.

The school mentioned above has many students whose parents host drinking parties, and drug use is also high among these kids....nope they don't live in ghettos either, these are children of very wealthy, upper-class people. But, oh my, we better watch out for the six year old with the temporary Batman tattoo on his arm! Do not tell me that if we don't "nip it in the bud", these little first graders will become juvenile delinquents who don't know how to behave. That is just plain idiotic.

I am guessing there is no link between letting your six year old have a washable tattoo, and his/her chances of ending up in jail. Why not focus on the lack of respect and common courtesy in this world. (I would go to head-to-head with anyone arrogant or self-righteous enough to generalize and tell me that people with tattoos are not respectful and courteous.) Call me crazy, but I think our time and energy could be better spent teaching children manners and how to be considerate of others. Unfortunately it seems some adults don't want to spend time and energy. It is easier to make up and enforce random rules.

Next, some may say, "I am teaching my child early on that tattoos are not acceptable." Fine, teach away, but don't push your views on me OR more importantly, my child. Because you see, I have enough faith in my own parenting abilities and enough faith in my children to know that I can teach the difference between a temporary tattoo and the real thing!

Do you not allow your kids to play with stuffed bears because you are afraid if they see a real bear at the zoo, they won't know the difference and they'll jump the fence and try to hug the bear? Do you never let your child swim because you think they can't learn the difference between swimming during the week, and not swimming on Sundays? Do you not allow your child to dress up for Halloween because they may not understand the difference and oh my goodness, what if little Johnny wants to be Darth Vader for the rest of his life? Hmmm, just wondering.

Lastly, some may say, "We avoid the very appearance of evil." Heads up folks, tattoos are not evil, and no prophet or church leader has ever said they are "evil". If we save our "evil" talk for things that really are evil, say sexual predators for instance, we would probably gain much credibility with others in our communities. It is my observation that we sometimes alienate many wonderful people who might be willing to learn more about the gospel. This could be an entire post on its own, but we need to carefully tread when we begin blurring the lines between our opinions and the factual teachings of our leaders. Side note: if you see someone drinking a pina colada, it might be a virgin one, and even if it isn't, the pina colada is not evil, and most likely neither is the person drinking it! Maybe we should worry more about NOT judging others than we worry about stamping everything we disagree with as evil.

Now you ask, what is the point of this rambling? My point is that we should pick our battles wisely. Have the courage and determination to fight the battles that really matter. Don't pick the battles that are EASY to fight and win....easy battles will most likely bring you nowhere closer to winning the war. Have more faith in yourself as a parent, teacher, mentor. Have more faith in the children whose lives you touch. I would guess you are smart enough to teach and they are smart enough to learn the difference between a temporary tattoo and a real one.


shahna said...

Amen. You go get 'em Natalie!:O)

RitterB's said...

What a great surprise! I am so happy you have found my blog. We need to catch up! As you can see our dreams have come true with litte NOAH! He is so dreamy! We cant wait to adopt a little girl! Jordie is pretty put out with the boy trap she is in!
Love you tons honey buns!

Oh... for the oprah bit... AMEN! I can not stand the lady... but you already knew that...

RitterB's said...

BTW... your blog is a kick in the pants! I love it! Glad you joined the parade!

MOM said...

Well....if you people have not already figured this one out, let's just say how proud I am that there is a distinct possibility that the "apple REALLY did not fall far from the tree!"

That's my girl....While I really like Sarah Palin, I am beginning to wonder if the "real pit-bull with lipstick" is hiding out on the East Coast among the most liberal of liberals! And yes, she is MORE than capable, Matt Damon, of "facing off Putin" at the table...any table! Better yet, Mr. Big Stuff, why don't you have the two for dinner....Vladimer and Snarky Belle! :)

Rachel Taylor said...

Wow if I ever need anyone to fight my battles, can I hire you? You leave no rock unturned! Incredible I love it!!!

Emily said...

Snarky Belle, we are political soulmates. I have yet to see something that you are passionate about that I am not as well.