Seeing the Story Underneath the Tattoo – A Grandfather’s Unusual Perspective

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People in my generation and older generally frown on tattoos. Oh, there are exceptions. I even have some friends in their seventies who are proud of their body art. But, in the past decade, as tattoos have become commonplace among folk younger than I am, I have heard dozens of complaints from critics in their fifties, sixties, and up.

Now, let me say that tattoos are not my cup of tea. I don’t have any and don’t imagine getting any. To my knowledge, neither my wife nor my children has a tattoo. And most of my friends prefer to wear skin in the way God made it. But, I have sometimes been concerned that many of us in the non-tattoo crowd can be overly judgmental of those who indulge in skin art. Usually, this takes the form of someone over fifty looking down his or her plain skin nose at someone under thirty. We critics deride the taste, judgment, and even moral status of the tattooed person.

I’m not here to defend or criticize tattoos, however. Rather, I’d like to share with you a short blog post from a new friend. Cavin Harper is the founder and executive director of Christian Grandparenting Network. He blogs at reEngaging this Generation. A few days ago, Cavin put up a post entitled “Every Tattoo Has a Story.” It begins with a predictable scenario:

I was sitting in a restaurant with another gentlemen much older than me. Our waitress was a young woman, fairly attractive, and covered from her neck down with tattoos. The gentlemen with me made a comment as the waitress walked away which I’m sure she heard. “Why would an attractive woman ruin her beauty with all those tattoos. One day she will regret doing that. Young people today don’t seem to be able to think past the moment.” While I didn’t verbalize my thoughts the way he did, I have to admit that I struggled as he did with why someone would do that to themselves.

But, then, the post takes an unexpected turn. I encourage you to check it out. Thanks, Cavin, for this thoughtful post.


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