The arm in the picture above belongs to my 23 year-old son, Zach. Â The tattoo belongs to him as well. Â It is his first. Â Personally, I am not at all the “tattoo type” and while I have come to appreciate and admire them (in many, but certainly not all, instances) I don’t see much “ink” in my own future. Â I’d say it was a generational thing, but Zach’s mom has a few tattoos herself. Zach wasn’t the first of my kids to jump on the permanent self-expression bandwagon. Â My 19 year-old daughter Olivia has a rose tattoo (though I doubt she has ever seen or read the eponymous and wonderful Tennessee Williams play, one of my favorites). Â If my middle son has splurged on some ink while away at school in Boston, he has yet to break it to me.
Ink Has Lost Its Stink
As a parent, I have odd feelings about tattoos. Â They are so permanent, and thus the dad in me can’t help but feel that my own kids – even though they have passed the age of 18 that we accept as the benchmark of adulthood – aren’t quite ready to make a decision today that perhaps they will feel differently about 5, 10 or even 20 years from now. Â A tattoo is so… permanent. Then I look around the world I actually live in (which is not always the same as the world that exists inside my mind) and I see my friends and co-workers and so many others who have embraced some “ink” as nonchalantly and proudly as they would any other personal attribute or fashion statement. Â Ink, in many ways, has become a literal sign of the times, and, like it or not, an accepted personal accoutrement.
Characters and Character
I suppose there is something romantic about the permanence of a tattoo and thus the (hopefully) carefully considered design and meaning of the art one literally chooses to brand themselves with. My daughter chose a flower. Â My son, some Japanese characters, with a meaning only he (and those who can read Japanese characters among us) will understand at a glance. While at first I wasn’t sure I would smile upon seeing his tattoo, I did have to smile when he told me what the characters meant. Â His tattoo says, “DETERMINATION.” Â Zach, is the embodiment of determination. Â Working in kitchens throughout college, and now as a full-time chef, Zach became an avid runner who, determined, lost over 150 pounds in less than a year, completed a half-marathon, and recently bought his first home.
His determination (and subsequent success) has filled me with pride. Â How can I not love his tattoo, and the meaning behind it?
What do you think of “ink” as it relates to your kids?
Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 23, Ethan, 21 and Olivia, 19). Â He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast. Â You can see more of Jeffâ€™s writing atÂ Sassholes! andÂ Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on theÂ Cast of Dads podcast.