I had an incident today with my young son that I felt I should write down. He is quite vivacious and speaks his mind often, so it’s fun to hear what he has to say… most of the time. Well, today I took him with me to go grocery shopping. My wife and two daughters were caught up with homework, so I decided to get the shopping done for the week. The grocery shopping went great and we made it out alive with barely a dime in my pocket, if I’m being honest, but we gotta eat. I let my son help me load the bags into the back and he helped me put the cart into one of the cart holding thing (my brain has blanked on what they are called). As we pushed the cart to put it away, another man was putting his cart away as well. Now without trying to sound super judgmental, this guy looked a little rough around the edges. He had sleeve tattoos and piercings in places on his face that only seemed painful. And yet he was very polite when he waited for my son to move out of his way so he could get rid of his cart. My son watched him with fascination, I don’t think he’s seen a person with that many tattoos before. The man knew that my son was staring, but didn’t seem upset or offended at all. He smiled and began walking away, when my son reached up quickly to feel his arm. Now I think my son thought that maybe his arm might have a cool texture to it because of all the ink and designs, but his eyes almost popped out of his head when the guys arm felt just like normal skin. Of course, I quickly grabbed him and told him we need to respect peoples space, but the man only smiled and said it was okay. My son had to say goodbye to the cool guy with ‘the scribbles on his arm’ as he called them, before we could leave.
When I had finally got him strapped into the car, my son caught my hand and began feeling my arm. “Why don’t you have any scribbles daddy?” he asked with sincerity. ” I smiled and said that his mother and I believed that tattoos or ‘scribbles’ were not very good for our bodies. At that moment, I think he finally connected why he had gotten in trouble for drawing on himself. He then proceeded to feel his own arms. “I liked that man, daddy. His arms were cool.” I frowned as I watched him trace designs onto his little toddler arms with his finger. But before I could say anything to convince my three year old not to sneak out and get tattoos, he said, “I don’t want the scribbles though, daddy. I like your arms better.” He then reached out again to feel my arms. I smiled at him and told him, he was a good boy, but mainly I felt relieved. I was glad that I was a good example for my son. It’s not that the man wasn’t, it’s that my son chose to be like his dad rather than someone he thought was cool.