One of my main goals as a parent is to instill confidence in my children. If they’ve got confidence in themselves, they’ll make good choices (most of the time), try new things, and basically be happy.
When Andrew was in the 1st grade, he wanted to get his ears pierced. We lived in Las Vegas so this wasn’t a completely out-of-left-field request; lots of older kids had their ears pierced in Vegas. But not too many 1st graders.
He asked me to take him to get his ears pierced just about every day for three months and I told him “no.” When he started wearing his little sisters stick-on earrings, I decided it was time for a conversation.
“Are you sure this is what you want to do? I mean, Andrew, this is permanent.”
I tried to talk him out of it telling him I wasn’t going to pay for him to get his ears pierced.
“My birthday’s coming up. I’ll use my birthday money.”
CURSE YOU, BIRTHDAY MONEY!
So I relented. Sort of.
His birthday was on a weekday and he had to go to school the next day, which I thought I could use to my advantage. So I took him to get his ears pierced at the girliest place I could think of: Claire’s, the fluffy pink tween-heaven stuffed with all things shiny and glittery.
Oh, how clever I was! One look at the pink glow emanating from the door and he was sure to turn around.
Oh, how wrong I was! He trotted up to the counter, told the clerk he wanted to get his ears pierced. I waited for the clerk to give a shrill giggle and tell him how cute he was (tee hee) as any typical Claire’s girl emporium employee would do. Instead, Greg, the manager, was manning the counter. Literally. It was a guy!
“Awesome, dude!” cheered Greg, whose own ears were adorned with bright CZ studs.
Yeah, awesome, Greg.
Andrew handed over his birthday money and the deed was done.
I wasn’t going to give up, though. When we got in the car, I said, “You know, Andrew, it’s not too late. You have to go to school tomorrow. If you want to take them out, no one will know.”
“No. That’s okay.”
One last ditch effort: “But, Andrew, really, no other boys in your class have their ears pierced. What will your friends say?”
“I don’t care. I’m just really happy right now.”
I’ll never forget those words from an 8-year-old: “I don’t care. I’m just really happy right now.”
I don’t think I’ll ever have that much confidence.
Andrew’s ears are still pierced. He got new earrings last month for his 16th birthday.
Yesterday, Andrew posted this status update on his Facebook page: “damn im gonna do something good with my life… besides everything else i’ve done… some that will really stand out i can just feel it”
What can I say? I believe him.